Structure Follows Strategy, in Strategy Driven Enterprise Organizations
What is a Strategy?
The term "strategy" is an overloaded in everyday conversations because most people including professional practitioners do not bother to explicitly establish their point of view into what is essentially a layered concept that exists at three (3) levels such as corporate, business and competitive and functional layers. Essentially, when people use the word “strategy”, they are expressing concerns/interest in one of the layers of a layered concept; corporate strategy, business and competitive strategy, or “functional” strategy; and operations strategy .
A strategy is an integrated and externally oriented concept of how a firm will achieve its objectives - how it will successfully compete against rivals. A strategy consists of an integrated set of choices related to elements from the corporate strategy, business and competitive strategy, and implementation method choices (M&A or “functional” strategy) layers.
Levels/Layers of Strategy
The levels/layers at which strategy may exist in the organization include:
Regardless of the person using the term, and the “type” of strategy being pursued the fundamental meaning of the word with respect to strategy type remains the same. Conceptually, a strategy in any of its myriad interpretation and manifestations, in any of these layers, is about decision making,
Operational Strategy - Operations strategy binds the various operations decisions and actions in functional areas into a cohesive consistent response to competitive forces by linking firm/organization policies, programs, systems, and actions into a systematic response to the competitive/strategic priorities chosen and communicated by the corporate or business strategy. Operations strategy is the collective concrete actions chosen, mandated, or stimulated by corporate strategy. Operations strategy defines how an entire business will allocate its resources to support operations and its strategic goals. Operations strategies focus on maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of production while minimizing operating costs.
The actual strategy of an organization is a combination of the parts of the deliberate and intended strategy that is successfully implemented and executed, and emergent strategy - "realized pattern" that was not "expressly intended" that emerged. (Mintzberg, 1994;25).
This is intended and planned strategy which is a result of the rational planning approach of strategy development. The rational planning approach (e.g., Ansoff, 1979) defines an objective in advance, describes "where we are now," and uses a prescriptive approach in which "the three (3) core areas - strategic analysis, strategy development, and strategy implementation - are linked together sequentially" (Lynch, 2000; 24).
Emergent strategy is realized pattern that was not expressly intended or planned that emerged from execution Emergent strategy is undertaken by an organization that analyzes its environment constantly and implements its strategy simultaneously (Lynch, 2000; 26).
I am a computer scientist interested in modeling of complex business systems, and model-driven analysis and evaluation of strategic management and operations management and the interplay between them. Specifically, I am interested in the use of modeling to improve understanding of strategy, its formulation, implementation and execution, and the interplay between intended strategy, emergent strategy and leaning to inform better strategic decision-making.