An Evolutionary Approach to Business Strategies and the Natural Environment
Chapter 5: Shaping Strategic Perspectives through Resource Networks
The strategic perspective of a firm is not solely the product of internal dynamics. It is also shaped by the context within which the firm operates: the dynamics in production and consumption systems. Moreover, the strategies that firms execute influence that context. This interactive relationship is at the heart of any definition of strategy. It is especially true for ecological strategies as they concern the interaction between a firm and the natural environment. But such strategies also deal with the ‘social’ environment of the firm: the consumers that populate the markets on which they operate, the regulating authorities that set limits to their products and processes, and societal groups that question their activities. Establishing the link between the firm and its context is a crucial part of the systemic approach outlined in Chapter 1 and covers two levels of analysis: that of resource networks and of the PCS as a whole. The latter will be taken up in Chapter 8; in this chapter the networks of direct relationships between the firm and external actors are explored. But nature as the wider context cannot be ignored. NATURAL AND PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AS WIDER CONTEXT Every firm exists within a physical and natural environment. It needs to be located at a specific place, draws on material and energy resources to be used in its production processes, exports its products and waste streams into that environment, and depends on the operation of ecological cycles. Natural ecologies as well as man-made physical structures thus restrict...
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