Strategising for the Future

March 2, 2017 • STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT, Global Business, Strategic Spotlight

By Joan E. Ricart and Carlos Rey


In this article the authors discuss how organisations can better strategise for the future by integrating and balancing the three logical approaches to strategy: analytical, institutional and systemic.

In the current context of increasing global hypercompetition and market turmoil, strategy is becoming more and more prominent. Where formally strategic planning was conducted every 3, 5 or even 10 years, today it is reviewed almost annually, and in some cases strategy may even suffer major revisions within a year. As we suggested in a previous article, in practice, three logical approaches to strategy are commonly used.1

The first is analytical logic, based on estimations of the various business variables and establishing causal relations between them. It is based on explicit information (from both the environment and internal resources and capabilities) and is developed deliberately through the conscious analysis of the situation. In general, analytical logic regards the company’s activity as an economic-competitive reality that can be analysed and predicted.

The second is institutional logic, which is based on the development and preservation of the principles and values that govern the company’s activities and stakeholder relationships. It is generally expressed through “statements”, such as the company’s credo, mission, vision, values, purpose, etc., but this statement is only a symbolic representation of the institutional perspective’s true scope. It is primarily developed at a pre-conscious or even subconscious level and is generated through the socialisation and internalisation of beliefs regarding the general principles of the company.

And the third is systemic logic, which, through experience and intuition, focuses on the holistic understanding of the business, without being bound by the barriers of quantifiable data or by the characteristics of the organisational identity. It is developed through a profound knowledge of reality that allows the establishment of hypotheses regarding the fundamental aspects of the market and the company itself.  The raw material of the systemic perspective is a mixture of conscious and unconscious knowledge, and is usually presented in a broad or non-specific manner in the form of ideas, models or reality maps.

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