Traditional Approaches to Strategic Management

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There are three traditional approaches to strategic management, the design approach, planning, approach and the positioning approach. These traditional approaches are simple and easy to understand but they are not suited to every business. Managers should understand these approaches to strategy so that they can understand if they are appropriate for their respective businesses.

Design Approach

The design approach to strategic management is a top-down approach in which strategy is designed by the top management team. This approach is known for its reliance on external factors, such as the opportunities and threats that exist in the market.

Planning Approach

In the planning approach to strategic management, strategy is not created by the top management team but by specialized planners within the organization. These planners formalize the strategic process for others to follow. Solving problems and making decisions becomes a simple step-by-step process through this approach.

Positioning Approach

The positioning approach is concerned with the firm's place in the overall market. The most common tool used in this approach is the five forces model, which considers the bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of new entrants, threat of substitutes and rivalry among competitors in the market.


The advantages of these traditional approaches is that they are simple and they are prescriptive -- meaning that they offer concrete recommendations for firms. The can be used to simplify complex situations so that they can be easily understood and dealt with.


Because these traditional approaches are simple and prescriptive they may not give an accurate picture of the real problems that firms face. Newer theories have emphasized the need to be descriptive, so that the actual situations faced by businesses can be understood.


About the Author

Wendel Clark began writing in 2006, with work published in academic journals such as "Babel" and "The Podium." He has worked in the field of management and is completing his master's degree in strategic management.

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