Defining the term ‘strategy’

Having looked at what you think strategy is in the previous step, let’s provide a range of definitions, obtained from various sources.

We’ll start with what Godfrey (2016) identified as originating from Alfred Chandler, who is considered as the ‘founding father’ of business strategy discipline, in Strategic Management: A Critical Introduction (1962). Chandler’s definition of strategy was:

… the determination of the basic, long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for those goals.

(Godfrey 2016)

An online business dictionary provides these definitions:

  1. A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
  2. The art and science of planning and marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use. The term is derived from the Greek word for generalship or leading an army.

( 2019)

Whatever definition of strategy you feel comfortable with, strategy needs to be expanded and we need to also recognise the following:

  • Strategy is long term; it is the future of the organisation
  • Strategy reflects an organisation’s overall mission, aims and objectives
  • Strategy is the way to meet those long-term goals; it is both a product by stating the aims and objectives, and a process by achieving those aims and objectives
  • Strategy needs resources to implement the aims and objectives

Key buzzwords within any strategy are likely to be external environment, competitive edge, and key stakeholders.

Don’t get too concerned about one definition, as Godfrey succinctly puts it:

… perhaps the best way to progress … is to recognize the multiplicity of meanings that strategy possesses and not to rest comfortably on any one clear, clever or simple definition.

(Godfrey 2016)

Your task

Watch the video ‘What is strategy’.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Use the video as well as the definitions above to create your own definition of strategy and post it in the comments.

References (2019) Strategy [online] available from [25 September 2019]

Chandler, A. D. (1962) Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise. Washington: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cited in Godfrey, R. D. (2016) Strategic Management: A Critical Introduction [online] London: Routledge. available from [8 November 2019]

Godfrey, R. D. (2016) Strategic Management: A Critical Introduction [online] London: Routledge. available from [8 November 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Strategy: The Art of Looking into the Future

Coventry University