Henry Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of Strategy for Competitive Advantages

In 1987, the Canadian management scientist Henry Mintzberg distinguished five visions for strategy for organizations. Mintzberg’s 5Ps are some sort of consciously intended course of action, a guideline (or set of guidelines) to deal with a situation.

Mintzberg’s 5 P’s of Strategy for Competitive Advantages

Mintzberg (The Strategy Process) looked at how the word ‘strategy’ has been used by people who have
written about the subject.
 Plan
 Ploy
 Pattern
 Position
 Perspective

Strategy as plan

A strategic plan is a document, produced at the end of a planning process. It is explicit, written down and contains targets and instructions for people to follow.

Strategy as ploy

A ploy is a manoeuvre in a competitive game with the intention of winning a victory over, or disadvantaging somehow, a competitor.

Strategy as pattern

Strategy may become apparent by a stream of actions or as a pattern of
behaviour or a consistency in what the organisation does. This arises from the culture of the management team.

Strategy as position

Strategy as ‘position’ involves how the firm fits with its environment. It includes:
 ‘Matching’ the internal resources and competences (strengths and weaknesses) of the organization with environmental conditions (opportunities and threats).
 A market position in relation to other firms: e.g. offering a product/service to a particular segment or satisfying customer needs in a particular way (e.g. high price and high quality vs low price and lower quality).

Strategy as perspective

Strategy as a unique way of looking at the world and interpreting it such as Apple Inc. which believes ICT is a lifestyle accessory whereas Dell seems to see it as a more functional business tool.

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