Identity and Strategy
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Identity and Strategy

How Individual Visions Enable the Design of a Market Strategy that Works

Olaf G. Rughase

This groundbreaking book explores the relationship between organizational identity and strategy and proposes a practical strategy making process that helps to avoid the typical pitfalls in strategic change processes. In doing so, the author bridges an important gap in management and strategy literature and explains how to practically link content and process when designing market strategies. A new conceptual framework is also presented which emphasizes the importance and dynamics of organizational identity and corresponding time discrepancies for strategy making.
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Chapter 1: Identity as a Blind Spot in Strategy Making

Olaf G. Rughase


The term ‘strategy’ is used extensively in management literature and has lost meaning in the process. In 1996, Porter shed some useful light with his highly regarded Harvard Business Review article ‘What is strategy?’ Porter argues that strategy is about being different. It is about unique positioning in a market by creating and using the most sustainable competitive advantages. ‘It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value [to customers]’ (Porter, 1996, p. 64). But how can such a strategy be brought about? Strategy separated from strategy making is academic at best (Voigt, 2003). In practice, the concept of strategy and the process of strategy making are inseparable and managers encounter their most difficult problems at this particular interface. Therefore, this book focuses on the process of strategy making because I constantly see difficulties in bringing a strategy about and realizing it (compare Eden and Ackermann, 1998). Strategy making deals with the process of how a strategy can be designed (also known as strategy formulation) and realized in practice. Reviewing the existing literature, it is interesting that Andrews’s concept, which was developed in the 1960s (Learned et al., 1965; Andrews, 1987 [1971]), is still the most prevalent in strategy making (Mintzberg and Quinn, 1996, p. 46). Andrews suggested that a successful strategy is the outcome of a process that creates an essential fit between internal strengths and weaknesses and external threats and opportunities. This prescription is associated...

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