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Power and Culture - Leadership Strategies

Updated on October 20, 2010

Management Strategies by Henry Mintzberg

There are many schools of thought on business practices and procedures. These schools include both the theories and meta-theories of strategy. In the text, “Strategy Safari: ­ A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management,” the authors present ten meta-theories on different business-strategy schools. In the words of the authors, “we critique… these schools, together with the single adjective that seems best to capture each one’s view of the strategy process.”

Mintzberg, Ahlstrand and Lampel explain how their ten meta-theories on strategy the Design, Planning, Positioning, Entrepreneurial, Cognitive, Learning, Power, Cultural, Environmental and Configuration Schools fit together to create the whole “strategy beast.” For educational purposes, it is feasible to study certain strategy theories, but in the real world it is necessary to understand the entire collection of theories in order to be an effective manager. Each school plays an integral role in the formation of the corporate “elephant” in today’s business environment. The authors present the differences between the Power and Cultural Schools and the intertwining of the dynamics of these schools in the corporate culture.


The Power School, strategy formation as a process of negotiation, defines the struggle between the people who hold the power and those seeking to gain that power. This power struggle can also exist between the power holders within the company and the stakeholders outside the company. This negotiation process with “look out for number one” as the underlying motive will often hinder the leadership processes. The Cultural School, strategy formation as a collective process, can be seen in the organization’s various group or department dynamics. This strategy development is further evident in the company’s corporate culture. The belief that “the apple never falls far from the tree” results in the gathering of cohesive workers who believe that ethics and values are important to the leadership processes.


The Power School holds that the fittest will reach the top of the corporate ladder, and that it is necessary for individuals to fight with all their strength to break through the glass ceilings and take over the leadership. In contrast to the Power School, the Cultural School dimension holds that in order for employees to achieve their individual goals it is necessary for them to work together. The premise of the Cultural School asserts that a good leadership strategy is to consider everyone’s viewpoints in the decision-making process.

The process dimension of the Cultural School is based on the perception that there is a pattern in strategy that involves “consistency in behavior over time,” and that a plan of cession to others is important for the success of the company. The process dimension of the Power School can be divisive and destructive to the corporate culture, while the Cultural School is vague and indecisive and can impede change and growth in the organization.


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


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    • equealla profile image

      equealla 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Leadership strategies is a difficult area to please everybody. I must admit we still have to go a long way to do it perfectly. Thanx for this info.

    • ProjectsConsult profile image

      ProjectsConsult 7 years ago from World Wide Web

      If you require a paper on any area in Business, email me and I can write it for you.