A Brief History of Business Strategy

John Kay

in Foundations of Corporate Success

Published in print April 1995 | ISBN: 9780198289883
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191718205 | DOI:
 A Brief History of Business Strategy

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This chapter describes the evolution of business strategy. It begins with the 1960s perspective in which strategy was largely equated with corporate planning; the 1970s see an emphasis on diversification and portfolio planning. The 1980s and 1990s are characterized by a focus on core competencies and the development of less analytic, more people‐oriented approaches to management. The still dominant rational approach to strategy is explained and its criticisms discussed. However, it is argued that these criticisms are based on a wish‐driven view of strategy and is not as relevant to a strategy rooted in the distinctive capabilities of the individual firm.

Keywords: competitive advantage; core competencies; corporate planning; corporate strategy; distinctive capabilities; diversification; firms; management; portfolio planning; rationality

Chapter.  9914 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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