When an organization’s environment is stable and predictable, strategic plannin

When an organization’s environment is stable and predictable, strategic planning can provide enough of a strategy for the organization to gain and maintain success. The executives leading the organization can simply create a plan and execute it, and they can be confident that their plan will not be undermined by changes over time. But as the consultant’s experience shows, only a few executives—such as the manager of the Panama Canal—enjoy a stable and predictable situation. Because change affects the strategies of almost all organizations, understanding the concepts of intended, emergent, and realized strategies is important (Table 1.2 “Strategic Planning and Learning: Intended, Emergent, and Realized Strategies”). Also relevant are deliberate and nonrealized strategies. The relationships among these five concepts are presented in Figure 1.3 “A Model of Intended, Deliberate, and Realized Strategy” (Mintzberg & Waters, 1985).

Table 1.2 Strategic Planning and Learning: Intended, Emergent, and Realized Strategies

Intended Strategy Emergent Strategy Realized Strategy

David McConnell aspired to be a writer. When his books weren’t selling he decided to give out perfume as a gimmick.

The perfumes McConnell gave out with his books were popular, inspiring the foundation of the California Perfume Company.

The company changed its name to Avon in 1939, and its direct marketing system remained popular for decades. Avon is now available online and in retail outlets worldwide.

When father and son team Scott and Don Rasmussen were fired from the New England Whalers, they envisioned a cable television network that focused on sports events in the state of Connecticut.

As the network became successful, ESPN has branched out beyond the local softball games and demolition derbies that were first broadcasted.


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