Exploring Corporate Strategy

Title: Exploring Corporate Strategy
Author: Gerry Johnson, Kevan Scholes, Richard Whittington
Publisher: Prentice Hall
RRP: £53.99

Exploring Corporate Strategy is a well known classic. Now on its 8th Edition it remains a best seller (this edition also has an additional online resource).  Having seen Gerry Johnson speak at Lancaster University I was impressed how he related his experience and research on ‘big business’ to that of the SME and this book is a useful resource to understand, learn and translate into your own organisation whatever the size.

The book covers three areas, those of strategic position, strategic choices and strategy in action.  The terminology and explanation is broken down in such a way as to enable the reader to gain clear understanding and guidance.Each section details the learning outcomes of the chapter through ‘illustrations’ of specific businesses and the real life scenarios they faced.

Exhibits’ are then introduced which give the supporting model or theory connected with the insights to the ‘illustration’.  For example the ‘cultural web’ is a model used for looking at the desired culture of an organisation, the ‘illustration’ used in the book for ‘The Forestry Commission of the Future’ allowed the organisation to challenge the existing beliefs, paradigms and to face up to what the likely problems were in managing the change indicated by the future web.

At the back of the book are numerous case-studies of businesses across various sectors detailing the reason for strategy in their context, the information gathering they undertook and the subsequent decisions and strategic direction they arrived at.

This book is designed to get you to think at a higher level and enter into the key debates and critical commentaries throughout the text.  Key concepts and ideas are raised around a organisational capability, purpose, culture, innovation, entrepreneurship, methods and evaluation, plus organising the implementation of a strategy  in terms of resources, business and people management throughout the change process.

There is a great deal of importance placed on processes and systems, and the authors of this book suggest that leaders are often categorised in two ways, charismatic and instrumental or transactional leaders..  We are now experiencing a period of unprecedented change and organisations are required to address the behaviours and style of their leader’s and set expectations to encourage new ways of working.  This means that strategy transcends purely setting direction into establishing and maintaining the ethics and values of how we do business in the current climate,

A great book which captures your interest and provides a source that can be constantly revisited wherever you are on your strategic journey.

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