Strategic Leadership

Topic Workbook – Strategic Leadership – Managing the
Strategy Making Process
Contents Page
Contents Page…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Chapter Overview……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Learning Outcomes……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
Chapter Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Context Section ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Essential Reading………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5
1. What is meant by competitive advantage?……………………………………………………………………………………. 6
2. Primary steps in a strategic planning process and the key players in the process ………………………………. 9
3. Handling common pitfalls of strategic planning……………………………………………………………………………. 15
4. The role strategic leaders play in the planning process …………………………………………………………………. 16
Reference List …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
Further Study Guidance……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
Index ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23

Chapter Overview
This topic introduces the key concepts related to strategy and the role leaders play in the strategy
development process.
Businesses face many challenges both externally (at an industry level and at a national/global level) and
internally (staff, processes, finance and so forth). The current business climate is rapidly changing pushing
organisations to continually adjust and innovate to compete successfully. Strategies are developed to
respond to external pressures or as result of goals defined by top managers. At the same time, strategy
process development continues to become more democratic, involving more levels within the organisation.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that at some point in your career you will either be leading a strategy
development or be involved as part of a strategy development team.
Strategic management today needs professionals with a blend of analytical mindsets, communication skills
and strategic thinking. Managers need to be able to work as part of a team to identify what needs to be
done, not just to take advantage of the strengths of the company and reduce internal weaknesses, but also
to identify potential business opportunities as well as external threats that might pose a risk to the future
growth of the company.
This topic is divided into four sub-topics:
• What is meant by competitive advantage?
• Primary steps in a strategic planning process and the key players in the process
• Handling strategic planning pitfalls
• The role strategic leaders play in the planning process.
Theoretical knowledge will be enriched using case studies.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this workbook, you should be able to:
Develop an understanding of what is meant by competitive advantage.
Recognise the primary steps in a strategic planning process and the key players in the process.
Critically evaluate the common pitfalls of planning and be able to assess how these can be avoided.
Appreciate and evaluate the role strategic leaders play in the planning process.
Chapter Summary
Strategy is about creating sustained competitive advantages. This is the ultimate goal of any business
strategy. However, in order to deal with complex business challenges faced by today’s firms, the process of
developing a strategy requires not only intuition and vision, but a logical and methodological approach to
deeply analyse the business environment and critically evaluate strategic options.
For example, climate change has brought many strategic challenges to the oil and gas industry. Since the
signature of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the process to move away from fossil fuels to
other sources of energy has sped up, building up huge pressure to the oil sector. Oil companies such Exxon
Mobil, Shell, BP and Total have been re-defining their strategies to survive in a new business environment
where sustainability has become a paramount requirement. Top and middle management are required to
develop these strategies.
The basic strategy development process includes a range of different activities such as to define goals,
analyse the company external environment, assess internal resources and capabilities, understand
stakeholders’ expectations and so forth. The fundamental role of managers is to devise the strategy by
facilitating the process of strategy development across the organisation. They need to have the relevant skill
set to ensure successful development of strategies. In addition, specific management behaviours which are
derived from good leadership and management skills should also be encouraged and fostered to ensure key
members in the organisation are involved in the strategy development process.
In this topic we discuss the following questions:
• How does business strategy help to develop a sustainable competitive advantage?
• What are the main approaches to developing business strategy?
• What are the key steps to developing a business strategy?
• Who are the key players and their roles in the development of business strategy?
• How to identify and handle the main pitfall of strategic planning?

Context Section
Strategic thinking is one of the core attributes managers need to develop in the 21st century (Stobierski,
2020). Strategic thinking is related to analytical skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills and
planning and management skills. Of these, problem-solving and critical thinking are at the top of the
required skills in 2020 (World Economic Forum 2016). In a McKinsey study on re-skilling to address the talent
gap, critical thinking and management skills also occupy the top of the list (McKinsey 2020).
Source: World Economic Forum 2016 Source: McKinsey 2020
In addition to being a core capability, strategic thinking, and as an extension – strategic management, are
fundamental skills required to approach and develop successful strategies in rapidly changing local and
global markets. Technology disruptions, economic uncertainties and climate change are few of the many
forces shaping the current and future business climate and which pose difficult challenges to top
management of firms.
As a result, managers should be able to approach complex business problems with a logical and analytical
approaches to problem solving.
This topic introduces you to the main strategic planning concepts, approaches, methodologies and tools
widely used and applied in modern corporations and businesses to develop strategies.
Read carefully the content in this book and go through the learning material which is comprised of a mix of
readings, videos and case studies. The case studies are important as they help you to understand the
theoretical concepts which are applied in real life.

Essential Reading
To assist with your learning journey, it is important that you read the following to give you knowledge of this
topic:
De Wit, B. (2020) Strategy: an international perspective. 7th ed. Andover: Cengage Learning.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Strategizing
Chapter 3: Missioning and Visioning
Chapter 4: Business level strategy:
The issue of competitive advantage
Perspectives on business level strategy
Readings: 4.1 and 4.2
Chapter 7: Strategy formation:
Perspectives on strategy formation
The issue of realized strategy.
Strategy formation roles
1. What is meant by competitive advantage?
Strategy and Competitive advantage
Strategy is about winning. Strategy is not a detailed plan or programme of activities; it is a unifying theme
that gives coherence and direction to the action and decision of an organisation. There are many definitions
of strategy depending on the field of human endeavour, however all successful business strategies show four
common factors that stand out (Grant, 1998):
Source: adapted from Grant (1998)
Consistent and long-term goals: focused organisations with clear and well-defined goals.
Profound understanding of the competitive environment: strategies designed around a deep and
insightful appreciation of the arena in which firms are competing.
Objective appraisal of resources: effective strategies exploit internal strengths, while protecting
areas of weakness.
Effective implementation: establish organisations structured for effective strategy implementation.
The ultimate outcome of a business strategy is to develop competitive advantages for the organisation. One
definition of competitive advantage can be understood as
(Twin 2021):
“Factors that allow a company to produce goods or services
better or more cheaply than its rivals.
These factors allow the productive entity to generate more sales or superior margins compared to
its market rivals.”

Therefore, competitive advantage is the ability of the firm to outperform rivals in primary performance goals
and profitability. When this ability is not simultaneously being developed by any current or potential
competitors and when these other firms are unable to duplicate the benefits in the long-term, then the firm
has a sustained competitive advantage.
Sources of competitive advantage
The sources of sustained competitive advantage are internal to the company. Changes in the external
environment of a company can create competitive advantage but they tend to be for a limited period. A
typical example is exchange rates. A sudden movement in the exchange rate between two countries can
improve temporarily the competitive position of an exporting company. An example is Brexit. After the
referendum in June 2016, the sterling dropped its value from a €1.32 against the euro and $1.50 against
dollar before Brexit to as low as $1.32 and €1.20 respectively. This made holidays abroad and imported
goods more expensive but UK exports cheaper, a clear competitive advantage for local producers.
Whether a firm has a sustained competitive advantage depends on the business model that it has developed
in relation to its business environment. A business model is the configuration of resources (input), activities
(throughput) and product/service offerings (output) intended to create value for customers – it is basically
the way a firm conducts its business (De Wit, 2020).
De Wit (2020) Figure 4.1
To create a sustained competitive advantage, alignment must be achieved between all three elements of a
business model:
A firm’s ‘product offering’ needs to be targeted at a particular segment of the market and have a
superior mix of attributes (e.g., price, availability, reliability, technical specifications, image, colour,
taste, ease of use and so forth).
A successful company must also have the ability to develop and supply the superior product offering.
It needs to have the capability to perform the necessary value-adding activities in an effective and
efficient manner.
A business model consists of the resource base required to perform the value-adding activities. If
these firm-specific assets are distinctive and useful, they can form the basis of a superior value
proposition.

Type of competitive advantages
A firm can achieve a higher rate of profit over a rival in one of two ways: either it can supply an identical
product or service at a lower cost, or it can supply a product or service that is differentiated in such a way
that the customer is willing to pay a premium price for it. In the former case the firm possesses a cost
advantage, in the latter a differentiation advantage. In pursuing cost advantage, the goal of the firm is to
become the cost leader in its industry or industry segment. Differentiation by a firm from their competitors
is achieved when it provides something unique that is valuable to buyers beyond simply offering a low price.
By combining the two types of competitive advantage with the firm’s choice of scope, broad market versus
narrow market, Michael Porter (1998) defined three generic strategies: cost leadership, differentiation and
focus.
The table below shows some key features of cost leadership and differentiation strategies:

Generic strategy Key strategy elements Resource and organisational
requirements
Cost leadership Scale-efficient plants
Design for manufacture
Control of overheads and
R&D
Avoidance of marginal
customer accounts
Access to capital
Process engineering skills
Frequent reports
Tight cost control
Specialisation of jobs and
functions
Incentives for quantitative
targets
Differentiation Emphasis on:
Branding
Advertising
Design
Service
Quality
Marketing abilities
Product engineering skills
Creativity
Research capability
Qualitative performance
targets and incentives
Strong inter-functional
coordination

Source: Grant (1998)
2. Primary steps in a strategic planning process and the key players in
the process
Levels of strategy development
Inside an organisation, strategies can exist at different levels, made for different groups of people or
activities (De Wit, 2020). Four levels of aggregation are mainly found in organisations depending on its size
and complexity:
Functional strategy is the lowest level and related to strategies which deal with questions regarding
specific functional aspects of a company (operations strategy, marketing strategy, financial strategy,
and so forth).
The next level, business strategy, requires the integration of functional level strategies for a distinct
set of products and/or services intended for a specific group of customers. For example, if a
company operates in one such business, this is the highest level of aggregation.
Corporate strategy is required for companies with two or more businesses. In such cases, a multibusiness or corporate level strategy is required which aligns the various business level strategies.
The highest level is the network strategy. Firms often cluster together into groups of two or more
collaborating organizations. Most multi-company groups consist of only a few parties, as is the case
in strategic alliances, joint ventures and value-adding partnerships.
Strategy process: intendent versus realised
The design approach to strategy views strategic decision making as a logical process in which strategy is
formulated through rational analysis of the firm’s performance and external environment.

Source: Mintzberg et al. (1987)
Such a picture is mostly unrealistic (Grant 1998). The process of strategy development is less structured,
more diffused and the division between formulation and implementation is less apparent. Mintzberg (1987)
defined Intended Strategy as conceived of by the top management team. Even here rationality is limited,
and the intended strategy is the result of a process of negotiation, bargaining and compromise involving
many individuals and groups within organisation. However, the Realised Strategy that we observe tends to
be only a fraction of the intended strategy. The primary determinant of a firm’s realised strategy is the
emergent strategy, the patterns of decision that emerged from individual managers adapting to changing
external circumstances and the ways in which the intended strategy was interpreted.
Strategic planning process: main steps
The traditional cyclical strategic planning is a structured, logical process of analysis, evaluation and
implementation, often linked to the budget cycle and long-term formal processes within the company.
Source: adapted from Gerry (2017)
Strategic planning process starts with the mission/vision of the business. From these, long-term goals are
set. Hence, the chosen strategy should guide the business on its way to fulfilling both, vision and/or mission.
In the next step, a detailed analysis is conducted:

An external analysis is performed to assess opportunities and threats.
An internal appraisal is performed to identify strengths and weaknesses.
There are many models and tools used for internal and external strategic analysis, e.g., PESTLE, Porter’s Five
Forces, Porter’s Value Chain, Industry Lifecycle. A popular tool for summarising analysis results is the SWOT
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
This analysis limits the businesses strategic areas available to work on. These areas should address the
strengths the firm can use to exploit market opportunities and to protect against risky threats, as well as
work out its weaknesses.
Based on this information, the business can develop several strategic options. Some of the best available
tools available to assess the strategic options are Ansoff’s Matrix, the Boston Consulting Group matrix and
Porter’s Generic Strategies.
The strategy selection process should evaluate options based on their:
suitability (do they address the most relevant external trends, opportunities and threats?),
feasibility (does the business have the necessary capabilities and resources?) and
acceptability (is it aligned with the vision and mission?).
The process followed by many companies after beginning the strategy implementation includes regular
reviews based on business performance measurement based on clearly defined key performance indicators
(KPIs). For example, in its 2019 Annual report webpage, Adidas describes its strategy performance objectives
as: achieve top-line growth significantly above industry average, win significant market share across key
categories and markets, improve our profitability sustainably, and deliver on our commitment to increase
shareholder returns.
The outcomes of these reviews are used to adjust the strategy. However, the overall strategy should remain
valid for at least a medium term.
Alternative approaches to strategy development
The following section describes three alternatives approaches to strategy development:
a) Emergent strategies (e.g., Agile strategy)
b) Blue Ocean Strategy
c) Balanced Scorecard
a) Emergent strategies
Traditional strategic planning is a typical example of deliberate strategy – the desired strategic direction
deliberately planned by managers as a result of planning systems carried out objectively and dispassionately.
Mintzberg (1978) recognises that an organisation can find itself in a steady environment for a long period of
time, without the need to change its strategy. But sometimes the environment can become turbulent
meaning that even the best planning techniques are useless because of the high level of unpredictability.
The
emergent approach recognises that the strategy making is dynamic, very changeable and has a high
degree of both uncertainty and complexity.

Emergent strategy means strategy is the product through the trial and error of everyday work (Mintzberg,
1987). Emergent strategies are the result of the emergence of opportunities and threats in the environment.
Mintzberg’s ideal is for these two forms of strategy formulation,
deliberate and emergent, to be in balance;
a company might experiment with some developments, find a combination that seems to work (emergent
strategy), then refine it into a plan and formalise it. At that point it becomes a deliberate strategy.
An example of emergent strategies is Agile strategy.
Agile Strategy
An Agile approach to strategy capitalises on Agile procedures, mindsets and ceremonies widely used in agile
software development (Huque, n.d.). Agile strategic management entails developing and adjusting
strategies, products, services, and operations as needed based on live data and new insights: strategic
opportunities are discussed, evaluated, broken down into sizable and manageable constituents, prioritized,
executed, constantly monitored and revised.
The agile approach creates strategic agility in organisations, that is, the capacity to sense change in the
environment and adapt in a way that continuously builds value for the customer (Montgomery, 2018).
Advantages
o big picture
o constant re-evaluation of strategic plans
o useful for companies that are growing quickly and/or adapting to new competitive
environments (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity)
o responsive to quickly to changing customer expectations
o more entrepreneurial
o open to opportunities
o can promote innovation
o alert to new technologies
o can promote disruptive patterns
o investment motivated by value creation rather than work that fulfils a long-term plan,
budgeting is flexible
o quicker to spot opportunities.
Disadvantages
o management dynamics: managers accustomed to a planning and controlling environment
may find operations in an agile environment difficult
o needs an open company structure
o requires innovation not process to be rewarded
o can be impacted negatively by other company processes.
b) Blue Ocean Strategy
Kim and Mauborgne (2005) describe red and blue oceans as follow:
Red oceans are all the industries in existence today – the known market space. In red oceans,
industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known.
Blue oceans, in comparison, denote all the industries not in existence today – the unknown market
space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is
ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid.

Blue Ocean strategy is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market
space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making
the competition irrelevant. It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a
given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players (Kim and Mauborgne, 2005).
Kim and Mauborgne argue that there are three key components in successful Blue Ocean strategic shift
(Denning, 2017):
Mindset: The authors found that, as in the world of Agile management, Blue Ocean strategy is
fundamentally a shift in mindset. It involves expanding mental horizons and shifting understanding
of where opportunity lies. Blue Ocean mindset is a perspective that enables strategists to ask a
fundamentally different set of questions, the answers to which in turn enable them to perceive and
appreciate the fallacies behind long-held assumptions and the artificial boundaries we unknowingly
impose on ourselves.
Tools: Successful implementers of Blue Ocean strategy have used practical tools to systematically
translate blue ocean thinking into commercially compelling new offerings. Sporadic, one-off Blue
Ocean strategy is one thing: systematically adopting Blue Ocean thinking is another.
Human-ness: Successful implementers exemplify a humanistic process, which inspires people’s
confidence to own and drive the process to own and drive the process for effective execution.
c) Balanced Scorecard
The Balanced Scorecard is a methodology developed by Kaplan and Norton (1996) which translates mission
and strategy into tangible objectives and measures. Measures represent a balance between external
measures for shareholder and customer, and internal measures for critical business processes, innovation,
and learning and growth. The Balanced Scorecard provides a strategic management system to manage the
strategy over the long run, helping to focus management efforts on critical processes:
Clarify and translate vision and strategy
Communicate and link strategy objectives and measures
Plan, set targets, and align strategic initiatives
Enhance strategic feedback and learning
The Balanced Scorecard is a framework for describing strategies for creating value. Four perspectives are
used to describe strategy

Perspective Description
Financial
perspective
How do we look to shareholders? Financial performance, a lag indicator, describes how
strategies create sustainable value to shareholders.
Customer
perspective
How do customers see us? Views organizational performance from the perspective of the
customer or key stakeholders the organisation aims to serve.
Internal Process
perspective
What must we excel at? Internal processes create and deliver the values proposition for
customers. As a leading indicator, internal process objectives describe how the organisation
intents to improve customer and financial performance.
Learning &
Growth
perspective
Can we continue to improve and create value? Intangible assets are the ultimate source of
sustainable value creation. Learning and growth objectives describe how people, technology
and organisation climate combine to support the strategy.

Strategy Map: The four-perspective model for describing an organisation’s value-creating strategy provides
a language that executive teams can use to discuss the direction and priorities of their firms (Kaplan and
Norton, 2004). They can view their objectives, not as performance indicators in four perspectives, but as a
series of cause-and-effect linkages among objectives. A Strategy Map is a visual representation of the causeand-effect relationships among the components of an organisation’s strategy.
Strategy formation roles
Roles in the strategy formation process can vary as tasks and responsibilities are divided in alternative ways
(De Wit 2020).

Roles Responsibilities
Top vs middle vs
bottom roles
Activities are divided among members of the top management team.
Other activities are delegated to divisional managers, business unit managers and
department managers.
Activities such as external and internal assessment and option generation it is more
common to see participation by people lower in the organization.
Top management generally retains the responsibility for selecting, or at least
deciding on, which strategic option to follow.
Line vs staff roles Responsible for achieving results,
Are often given the responsibility to participate in conceiving the strategies they will
have to realise.
Staff members are recruited specially for roles in the strategy formation process (e.g.
corporate strategy manager)
Internal vs
external roles
Outsiders are recruited to perform ‘outsourced’ activities such as diagnosis activities
or to facilitate the strategy formation process in general.
Some organizations have external consultants engaged in all aspects of the process.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA
3. Handling common pitfalls of strategic planning
Formalised strategic planning can be very useful in various ways:
It can provide a structured means of analysis and thinking about complex strategic problems.
It encourages long-term thinking and commitment.
It can be used as a way of involving people in strategic development and therefore helping to create
ownership of the strategy.
It may also help to communicate intended strategy.
It can be used as a means of control by regularly reviewing performance and progress against agreed
objective.
However, there may be dangers in the formalisation of strategic planning (Gerry, 1997). Common pitfalls
include:
Strategies are successfully implemented through people. Their behaviour will not be determined by
plans so the cultural and political dimensions of organisations must be taken into account. Planning
process are not typically designed to do this.
The strategy resulting from deliberations of a corporate planning department or a senior
management team may not be owned widely in the organisation.
The manager responsible for implementation strategy, i.e., usually line manager, may be so busy
with the day-to-day operation of the business that they cede responsibility for strategic issues to
specialists. However, specialists do not have the power to make things happen. The result can be the
strategic planning becomes an intellectual exercise removed from the reality of operations.
The process of strategic planning may be so cumbersome that individuals or groups in the firm might
contribute to only part of it and not understand the whole.
There is a danger that strategy becomes thought of as the plan. Managers may see themselves as
managing strategy because they are going through the process of planning. Strategy is not the same
the plan. The strategy is the long-term direction the organisation is following, not a written
document on an executive shelf which leads to the difference between intended and realised
strategy.
Strategy planning can become over detailed in its approach concentrating on extensive analysis
which may miss the major strategic issues facing the organisation. Planning can become obsessed
with the research for absolute determinants of performance or a definitely “right” strategy. In the
first place, it is unlikely that a right strategy will somehow naturally fall out of the planning process.
It might be more important to establish a more generalised strategic direction within which there is
a flexibility.
The process and the associated tools cannot keep up with the pace of change in the business
environment. They will lead to lagging results.
The resulting strategic plan may be too inflexible for today’s pace of change.
4. The role strategic leaders play in the planning process
The classic definition of leadership hasn’t changed over time. Leadership is the process of influencing an
organisation (or group within an organisation) in its efforts towards achieving an aim or goal (Stodgill
,1950).
Without effective leadership the risk is that people in an organisation are unclear about its purpose or lack
motivation to deliver the strategy to achieve it.
While leading strategic planning is often associated with top management, and chief executives, in practice it
typically involves managers at different levels in an organisation with different roles (Gerry, 2017):
Top managers:
There are three key roles that are argued to be especially significant for top management, especially a CEO,
in leading strategic planning and change:
Envisioning future strategy. Effective strategic leaders at the top of an organisation need to ensure
there exists a clear and compelling vision of the future and communicate clearly a strategy to
achieve it both internally and to external stakeholders.
Aligning the organisation to deliver that strategy. This involves ensuring that people in the
organisation are committed to the strategy, motivated to make the changes needed and
empowered to deliver those changes.
Embodying change. A strategic leader will be seen by others, not least those within the organisation,
but also other stakeholders and outside observers, as intimately associated with a future strategy
and a strategic change programme.
Middle managers:
A top-down approach to managing strategy sees middle managers as implementers of top management
strategic plans. However, middle managers have multiple roles in relation to the management of strategy:
Advisers to more senior management on requirements for change within an organisation. This is
because they are often the closest to indications of market or technological changes that might
signal the need for change.
Sense making’ of strategy. Top management may set a strategic direction, but how it is explained
and made sense of in specific contexts (e.g., a region of a multinational or a functional department)
may, intentionally or not, be left to middle managers.
Reinterpretation and adjustment of strategic responses as events unfold (e.g., in terms of
relationships with customers, suppliers, the workforce and so on).
Local leadership of change. Middle managers therefore have the roles of aligning and embodying
change, as do top management, but at a local level.
Changing roles for strategising managers
Most management practices were initiated in the 19th century and according to Mintzberg (1987) many
managers still function in that manner. However, managers nowadays need to become “creators of
environments” that will allow their companies to achieve Competitive Advantage.
Modern strategy planning needs flexible leadership with emotional intelligence. Leaders must be recast as
social-systems architects who enable innovation and collaboration.

Management must also orient itself to the achievement of noble, socially significant, sustainable strategic
goals.
It is possible to argue that by developing an understanding of competitive advantages, recognising the
primary steps and key players in the strategic planning process, evaluating and avoiding the common pitfalls
we can appreciate and evaluate the role strategic leaders play in the planning process.

Reference List
Textbook:
De Wit, B. 2020. Strategy: an international perspective. 7th ed. Cengage Learning. Andover.
Adidas, 2019 Annual report, corporate strategy page. Accessed 19/03/2021:
https://report.adidas-group.com/2019/en/group-management-report-our-company/corporate-strategy.html
Chan K. and Mauborgne R. 2005. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make
the Competition Irrelevant. Harvard Business School Press. Boston.
Denning, S. 2017. Moving To Blue Ocean Strategy: A Five-Step Process To Make The Shift. Forbes.com
Gerry, J. and Scholes, K. 1997. Exploring Strategy, Pearson Education Limited.
Gerry, J., Whittington R., Regnér, P., Scholes, K. and Angwinand D. 2017. Exploring Strategy, Pearson
Education Limited.
Grant, R. 1998. Contemporary Strategy Analysis. Bracknell Publisher Inc.
Huque, D. Agile Strategy Management – Part I. Author. Accessed 19/03/2021:
https://www2.deloitte.com/de/de/pages/technology/articles/agile-strategy-management.html
Kaplan, R. and Norton, D. 1996. Balanced Scorecard. Harvard Business School Press.
Kaplan, R. and Norton, D. 2004. Strategy Maps. Harvard Business School Press
McKinsey & Company, 2020. Beyond hiring: How companies are reskilling to address talent gaps. Accessed
19/03/2021. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/beyond-hiring-howcompanies-are-reskilling-to-address-talent-gaps
Mintzberg, H. 1978. Patterns in Strategy Formation. Management Science, 24, 934-948
Mintzberg, H. 1987. The Strategy Concept I: Five Ps for Strategy. California Management Review
Montgomery, D. 2018. Start Less, Finish More: Building Strategic Agility with Objectives and Key Results. Agile
Strategies Press
Porter, M. 1998. Competitive Strategy. The Free Press, 1998
Stodgill, R. 1950. Leadership, membership and organization. Psychological Bulletin, vol. 47

Twin, A. 2021. Competitive Advantage. Accessed 17/03/2021.
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/competitive_advantage.asp
Stobierski, T. 2020. 4 WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR STRATEGIC THINKING SKILLS. Accessed 19/03/2021.
https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/how-to-develop-strategic-thinking-skills
World Economic Forum, 2016. The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Accessed
19/03/2021. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourthindustrial-revolution/

Further Study Guidance
You need to do your own research to apply the concepts presented above to the assessment task for this
topic.
In addition, see below further readings, case studies and articles which will help you to have a deeper
knowledge of this topic.
It is highly recommended that you do some of your own research into project success and failures and
reasons why.
List of Additional Resources (also detailed in the Additional Reading and Videos):
Subtopic 1: What is competitive advantage?
Emerald Group Publishing Limited (2013) So, what is competitive advantage? We know we need it but not
how to define it? Strategic Direction, 2013, Vol. 29, Issue 9, pp. 6-8.
https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/SD-08-2013-0049/full/pdf?title=so-what-iscompetitive-advantage-we-know-we-need-it-but-not-how-to-define-it – accessed 18/3/21
Kaleka A, Morgan N (2017) Which Competitive Advantage(s)? Competitive Advantage-Market Performance
Relationships in International Markets;
Journal of International Marketing. Oct2017, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p25-49.
Lawson J (2021) In the Digital Economy, Your Software Is Your Competitive Advantage;
Harvard Business
Review Digital Articles
. 1/18/2021, p1-4
Negulescu, O H (2019) The Importance of Competitive Advantage Assessment in Selecting the Organization’s
Strategy;
Review of General Management. 2019, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p70-82.
Subtopic 2: Primary steps and key players in the strategic management process
Garavandala U (2020); An Integrative Approach to Strategic Management in Health Services;
CLEAR
International Journal of Research in Commerce & Management
. Mar2020, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p19-22.
Hermanson D, Tompkins J, Veliyath R, Ye Z (2020); Strategic planning committees on U.S. public company
boards: Axiomatic or paradoxical? Long Range Planning Volume 53, Issue 5, October 2020 –
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Subtopic 4: The role of strategic leaders
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CASE STUDIES
These are case studies which will give you a broad understanding of how some of the concepts presented in
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VIDEOS
Strategic Planning Foundations (1 hr, 22min)
https://www.linkedin.com/learning/strategic-planning-foundations/understanding-the-principles-of-strategicplanning-2?u=56741521
Index
A
Agile Strategy, 13
B
Balanced Scorecard, 14
Blue Ocean Strategy, 13
Business model, 11
C
Competitive advantage, 7
E
Emergent strategies, 12
I
Intended vs realised, 10
Managing internationally, 9
L
Levels of strategy, 10
P
Pitfalls of planning, 16
Porter’s Generic Strategies, 9
R
Roles within strategy process, 11
S
Steps in strategic planning, 12