The Configuration School CH 11

The configuration school defines strategy formation as a process of transformation. The school reflects the two labels configuration, referring to the organization and its surrounding context and transformation, meaning the strategy making process. Because organizational configuration requires strategy making (or transformation), the school is a two sided coin – where configuration occurs so does transformation. While the process of strategy making may set out to change the direction of the company/ organization, the strategy that results ultimately stabilizes the organization. Therefore, change or transformation is the initial proponent of the stability of configuration. Another way to expand on the difference between transformation and configuration is that configuration is typically researched and described by academics where as transformation tends to be practiced by managers or prescribed by consultants.

The premises of the configuration school are the following:

  1. An organization can be described in terms of some kind of stable configuration of its characteristics.
  2. These periods of stability are interrupted occasionally by some process of transformation.
  3. These states of configuration and periods of transformation may order themselves over time into patterns and sequences.
  4. The key to strategic management is sustainable stability but transformation must occur to maintain and manage sustainable stability.
  5. The process of strategy making can be one of conceptual design (academic) or formal planning (management).

Ultimately the configuration school is about managing change and maintaining stability through transformation. The school believes it is important to keep questioning the direction of the strategy by asking: 1. What could change in an organization? The configuration school contributes order to the formation of strategy. Between the wild safari hunt of strategy formation,  the configuration school brings the order and stability needed to transform the strategy in order to make the strategy fit the company’s needs.


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