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Environmental and Configuration - Leadership Strategies

Updated on October 20, 2010

Management Strategies by Henry Mintzberg

In the text, “Strategy Safari: ­ A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management,” the authors Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J. explore ways in which their ten meta-theories of leadership strategies are integrated in the formation of the “strategy beast” of the corporate environment. Theories explain the expected results in given situation, while meta-theories are examinations or explanations of established theories. The authors explain how the study of their ten meta-theories the Design, Planning, Positioning, Entrepreneurial, Cognitive, Learning, Power, Environmental and Cultural can ­help managers be successful leaders in the corporate world.


The Environmental School strategy, formation as a reactive process, explains how factors that are external to the organization are reflected in the internal decision-making processes of the company. The opportunities and threats external to the organization will have an influence on the type leadership strategies the organization chooses. The Configuration School strategy, formation as a process of transformation, provides insight into the contributions that are made by the nine other strategy schools presented in the text. The strength of the organization’s strategy systems, as prescribed by The Configuration School, is the ability for the company to transition from one decision-making structure to another without losing its position in the target market. 


Descriptive theories are processes that are used derived strategies based on past experiences, and prescriptive theories use the what-if approach in to determine the success of possibility strategies. Seven of the ten strategies developed by the authors are descriptive theories. The Environmental and Configuration Schools are the two descriptive theories that are most greatly influenced by external causes and effects. Other similarities in the contextual dimensions of these two schools are, the formation of the strategies takes place when the organization is at a stage of maturity. Rather than being proactive by setting the benchmarks, the Environmental School reacts to market forces in an afford to avoid being “selected against.” The Environmental School views strategy as an operation that is beyond the company’s control and looks to the market for directions and leadership.

The Environmental School is comprised of indecision and procrastination, while maintaining that there is little to no decision-making options for the internal leadership. The “it all depends” premise of The Environmental School can sometimes be counterproductive to the corporate culture and stability. The Configuration School is opposed to accepting the status quo, which may sometimes lead to costly and unnecessary changes within the organization.


Mintzberg, Henry. Ahlstrand, Bruce. and Lampel, Joseph. Strategy Safari: ­A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management.


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