Strategy without Design: The Silent Efficacy of Indirect Action

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Strategy exhibits a pervasive commitment to the belief that the best approach to adopt in dealing with affairs of the world is to confront, overcome and subjugate things to conform to our will, control and eventual mastery. Performance is about sustaining distinctiveness. This direct and deliberate approach draws inspiration from ancient Greek roots and has become orthodoxy. Yet there are downsides. This book shows why. Using examples from the world of business, economics, military strategy, politics and philosophy, it argues that success may inadvertently emerge from the everyday coping actions of a multitude of individuals, none of whom intended to contribute to any preconceived design. A consequence of this claim is that a paradox exists in strategic interventions, one that no strategist can afford to ignore. The more single-mindedly a strategic goal is sought, the more likely such calculated instrumental action eventually works to undermine its own initial success.

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Book Description:

Not all organizational accomplishment can be explained with recourse to deliberate choice and purposeful design. This book argues that collective success may inadvertently emerge as a result of the everyday coping actions of a multitude of individuals, none of whom intended to contribute to any preconceived plan.

About the Author:

Robert C. H. Chia is Professor of Management at the University of Strathclyde Business School. Robin Holt is Reader at the University of Liverpool Management School.

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