Strategic Lenses

There are 4 strategic lenses:

Strategy as Design
Strategy as Experience
Strategy as Variety (Ideas)
Strategy as Discourse

Strategy as Design:

Is the view that strategy development can be a logical process in which economic forces and constraints on the organization are weighed carefully through analytic and evaluative techniques to establish clear strategic direction and in turn carefully planned in its implementation is perhaps the most commonly held view about how strategy is developed and what managing strategy is about. It is usually associated with the notion that it is top management’s responsibility to do this and that top management led the development of strategy in organizations.

Strategy as Experience:

Here the view is that future strategies of organizations are based on the adaptation of past strategies influenced by the experience of managers and others in the organization; and are taken for granted assumptions and ways of doing things embedded in the cultural processes of organizations. In so far as different views and expectations exist, they will be resolved, not just through rational analytic processes, but through processes of bargaining and negotiation. Here, then, the view is that there is a tendency for the strategy of the organization to build on and be a continuation of what has gone before.

Strategy as Variety (Ideas):

This lens emphasizes more the potential variety and diversity which exists in organizations and which can potentially generate novelty. Here strategy is not so much seen as planned from the top but emergent from within and around the organization as people cope with an uncertain and changing environment in their day-to-day activities. New ideas will emerge; but they are likely to have to battle for survival against the forces for conformity to past strategies that the experience lens explains. Drawing on explanations from evolutionary and complexity theories, the ideas lens provides insights into how this might take place.

Strategy as Discourse:

This view consists in making choices between different possibilities and then inspiring confidence for the choice taken. This view is very high on legitimacy and low on rationality and innovation. Strategy as discourse sees strategy development in terms of language as a “resource” for managers by which strategy is communicated, explained and sustained and through which managers gain influence, power and establish their legitimacy as strategists.

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