Guide on How to Write University Essays, Courseworks, Assignments and Dissertations

The Meaning and Importance of Corporate Strategy

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Corporate strategy is supposed to be the means by which an organisation achieves and sustains success. Yet, it rarely rises to that level, despite an abundance of corporate strategy theory and significant research from many organisations over the past few decades. The changes over the years are considered in the form of small, theoretical refinements, rather than large and significant steps required for further management transition (, 2006).


What explains the relative failure of most organisations to create effective strategy? Part of the problem is that corporations and their managers have great difficulty clearly and consistently defining what corporate strategy is, and much of that struggle can be traced to their interpretation of the word strategy itself.


The original meaning of the word strategy derives from the Geek strategia, which is used in the military terms and represents the ability to employ available resources to win a war. This interpretation has generated problems when such concept is used in a business context because it implies the existence, even the necessity, of opponents. As a result, most managers believed that a corporate strategy implies a strong focus on competition, since competition takes place almost exclusively at the offering level, most organisations concentrate their strategic efforts on constantly improving the goods and services they offer. This overemphasis on the temporary success, however, can often obscure the kind of thinking and emphasis that would lead to sustained success, even a continuous repetition of temporary successes doesn’t equate to sustainable strategy. In an effort to increase the value of single offerings, the organisation may be distracted from larger questions of structure, mission and objective (, 2006).


In war, objectives can often be clearly defined, and so strategy is thought of as a means to a specific end. This view has persisted in the corporate world where strategies are conceived as plans to accomplish specific goals. Although corporate strategy can be very goal-oriented, especially in the early stages of a company’s development, the very nature of goals implies temporary success. By contrast, sustainable success is not, and cannot be an end unto itself or a goal to achieve. Therefore, goal orientation becomes arguably inappropriate when success has to be indefinitely sustained.


Despite this, an overwhelming number of top executives and researchers make extensive use of objectives in their quest of lasting corporate success. Certainly, a number of factors contribute to this: the need of leaders with limited tenure to point to achievements, the tyranny of meeting the expectations of the financial markets and most management teams extensively rely on forecasting and planning. Still, the idea held by most managers that strategy itself is all about goal achievement only exacerbates the situation. Therefore, it is important for strategists to remember that the more specific an objective, the further away it may potentially lead the organisation from its optimal big picture.


So how strategy should be redefined? Clearly it cannot rely too strongly on objectives nor can it focus too heavily on competition. A more fundamental concept is needed to guide an organisation in seeing its big picture, and such concept should be customer. To create sustainable, long-term success, an organisation must first and fundamentally understand and relate to its customers. It is the ongoing encouragement of this understanding, based on neither specific competitors nor temporal objectives, which must be at the heart of any real strategy. And it is that from which all objectives should naturally flow.




Hosskisson, R.E., Hitt, M.A. Wan, W.P. and Yiu, D. (1999). “Theory and Research in Strategic Management: Swings of a Pendulum”. Journal of Management, Vol.25, Iss.3, pp.417-457.


Johnson, G. and Scholes, K. (2002). Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases. 6th ed. Prentice Hall: Harlow.


Porter, M.E. (2001). “Now is the time to rediscover strategy”. The Wall Street Journal, November.


Papers For You (2006) "C/B/226. Corporate Strategy: Concept, Elements and Practices", Available from [22/06/2006]


Papers For You (2006) "P/B/270. Intended strategy Vs. Realised strategy", Available from [21/06/2006]

C/B/745. Strategy related questions

C/HR/188. The role of Human Resource Management within the corporate strategy process and the links between organisational and human resources strategies

S/B/263. Discuss the extent to which the debate relating to deliberate and emergent strategy is helpful in understanding the practice of strategic management in organizations

C/B/708. Case Study: Exam Preparation

C/B/699. Strategic Drift

C/B/689. 'Strategy is an organizational process inseparable from the structure, behaviour and culture of the company in which it takes place', Discuss

S/B/225. Critically evaluate the peer-reviewed academic journal articles that apply the complex-adaptive system approach of improvisation and emergence to business

S/B/224. Discuss the extent to which the debate relating to deliberate and emergent strategy is helpful in understanding the practice of management in organisations

S/B/221. Discuss the extend to which the debate relating to deliberate and emergent strategy is helpful in understanding the practise of strategic management in organisations

C/B/639. Strategy is an organizational process that is inseparable from structure, behaviour and culture of the company. Discuss

C/B/636. Decision Theory and Practicality

C/B/543. Critically evaluate the peer-reviewed academic journal articles that apply the complex adaptive systems approach of improvisation and emergence to business.


E/B/295. 'The optimal size of the firm may vary from a sole trader in one case to a global corporation in another'. Examine the reason for this apparent dichotomy and illustrate your answer with relevant examples

E/B/226. Evaluate how strategy approaches adopted by the organisation impact on different communication practices in the changing environment

C/B/504. Strategic Studies and Security

E/B/31. Models of designing a manufacturing strategy: theory and case study

E/B/22. Critically discuss Hamel and Prahalads view that a sound business strategy must be based on conceiving ?the company as a portfolio of core competencies rather than as a portfolio of individual business units.

C/B/294. Corporate management styles

P/B/409. Game theory in strategic management and economics

C/B/258. Business Policy and Strategy

P/B/346. Effectiveness of flexible strategies

S/B/72. 'Corporate strategy cannot be addressed from a postmodern perspective', Critically Discuss

C/B/241. Strategy Formulation

S/B/146. Compare and contrast a ‘global strategy’ with an ‘international strategy’. Discuss with reference to appropriate examples.

P/B/847. Theories of business strategy

P/B/799. Review of theories on business strategy and competitive advantage

E/B/105. Theories of strategy and structural analysis

C/B/386. Role of Strategic Management in a Turbulent Environment

P/B/589. Theories of management and strategy of Symantec Corporation

C/B/362. Strategy Innovation and Its Integrated Approach

P/B/546. How can stakeholders influence organizations strategy?

C/B/345. Strategy as Practice: Literature Review

C/B/343. Strategic Management Exam Preparation

C/B/226. Corporate Strategy: Concept, Elements and Practices

C/B/218. Exam Questions and Answers for Corporate Strategy

S/M/72. Is a leadership or followership strategy the most profitable for research-intensive firms?

P/M/283. Explain how human resources can be used to implement Porters generic strategies of cost leadership and differentiation, comparing the cost and benefits of this resource and identifying the main issues that management will need to be aware of.

P/B/270. Intended strategy Vs. Realised strategy

P/B/259. What contributions can economics make to strategy and vice-versa? Is strategy little more than economics applied to the theory of the firm?

P/B/238. Compare and contrast the ?resource based theory of Hamel and Prahalad approach to strategy with Porters (1980s) approach and discuss the limitations of each approach.

P/B/236. Successful Business Strategies Result not from Rigorous Analysis but from a Particular State of Mind, from a Thought Process that is Basically Creative and Intuitive rather than Rational. Discuss.

P/B/221. In the context of business strategy, explain what is meant by 'landscape analysis' and examine its usefulness and limitations in developing strategic thought.

E/M/13. Importance of Internal Analysis in Organisations to Formulate Strategies

P/B/208.The nature of the business environment is dynamic. If this is true, then prescriptive strategy is useless. Discuss.

P/B/199. Perceptions of Corporate Strategy

P/B/178. Strategy formulation: analysis of resource-based view

P/B/144. "In a world of constant change, strategy is redundant. What matters is a flexible response to the business environment". Discuss

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