Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay
Chapter 29: Foreseeing the Problem of Conformity in Strategy Teaching, Research and Practice
Gregory B. Vit* Forecasting conformity The central idea of this chapter is to shed light upon a paradox in the teaching and research of strategy and foresight. While some academics and practitioners appear to be involved in cutting-edge approaches to strategy and foresight; signiﬁcant time, eﬀort and print continues to be spent upon building legitimacy for arcane dominant strategic management models (Fayol 1916; Andrews 1987; Hitt and Ireland 2006) that often simply do not work. Their persistence may be due to non-economic social reasons that contribute to conformist approaches to strategy and foresight. This chapter will begin with a review of the dominant ‘strategic management model’ as it appears in many business school strategy texts. It will then highlight implicit and questionable assumptions behind this model. Last, the chapter will suggest alternative lines of thinking about strategy and foresight that should be addressed in courses aimed at teaching and practice. The all-pervasive conformist and prescriptive strategy model Arguably most texts that endeavour to teach strategy at the undergraduate or MBA level still rely heavily upon a prescriptive and unproven strategy analysis–formulation– implementation approach as illustrated in Figure 29.1. This dominant strategy model has been institutionalized within many business schools (Mintzberg 2004) and manifests itself in the discourse that surrounds ‘strategic managing’. One way of illustrating the pervasiveness of this model is to look at how strategy is treated in most business school textbooks. The conventional strategy text that is used by many business schools is generic. The...
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