Strategic management entails the identification, execution, control, and assessment of the course of action to take in order to ensure that a firm attains its set goals and objectives. Strategic management can be both a science and an art. Available literature and studies indicates that strategic management is both an art and a science.
The formulation and testing of hypotheses call for the science aspect of strategic management. On the other hand, the art aspect of strategic management comes about at the implementation stage when making of plans is vital. In light of this, the current paper endeavors to examine if indeed strategic management is a science, or not.
According to Wheelen and Hunger (2008), strategic management can be defined as the collection of managerial actions and decisions upon which a firm or corporation depends on for its long-term performance.
Hoffmann (2007) argues that strategic management aspires to align the external environment of a business with its activities. Strategic management takes into account comprehensive planning activities for the different variables of a firm that may assist in accomplishing the set objectives and goals. The paper seeks to dispel the statement that management is a science.
The paper argues that due to the complexities involved in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of business strategies and since employees have to be managed tactfully, therefore, strategic management is both an art and a science. This is the position that the current paper seeks to take.
Strategic management is the science and art of formulating, executing, and evaluating cross-functional decisions to assist firms attain their long-term goals (Hanson and Dowling 28). It entails identifying the vision and mission of a firm, developing plans and policies that will eventually turn them into programs and projects, and the allocation of vital resources for the execution of such plans and policies.
All of these activities must function together if at all the goals and objectives of a firm are to be achieved. Taking into account the aforementioned concepts about strategic management, there is the need to assess whether strategic management is a science, or an art.
The art aspect of strategic management comes about at the implementation stage when making of plans is vital. Here, managers enjoy the flexibility of execution taking into account the fact that at this stage, it may be necessary to modify some of the strategies to facilitate proper execution.
Furthermore, in order to implement a plan, the style and character traits of a manager are essential since different managers have different character and unique styles of implementing plans. As a result, the performance of different managers differs because of their unique traits and character.
Often times, managers are called upon to improve the activities of executing strategies; however, the pace at which such activities can be implemented is riddled with a lot of problems. Under certain circumstances, they are bound to forget the primary objectives as they head towards the implementation of strategies. Consequently, a firm may lose the initial momentum prior to the realizations of the anticipated results (Raps 64).
On the other hand, strategic management could be regarded as a science because during the formulation stage, both the internal and external elements have to be assessed, and this calls for an extensive analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. The formulation stage entails the testing and formulation of various assumptions.
In addition, the different options are also devised in order to assess the different outcomes taking into account the various factors involved. If a firm is to execute the desired strategies successfully it must first understand the market of its operation. Such an understanding calls for timely and accurate information, as well as the means of examining and communicating the information obtained to the relevant authorities who have to make the crucial decision.
Even as the research process is a time-consuming, expensive, and complex activity, however, this should not be an indication that a company should remain isolated and ignorant about the world that surrounds it. We need to take into account the fact that we have in place simplified ways of getting the needed information and data (Katsioloudes 26).
As such, the crucial strategy inputs emanating from an assessment of both the external and internal environments are crucial in order to both formulate and implement the strategy. Consequently, effective strategic actions are vital for the attainment of the above-average retunes as well as the anticipated strategic competitiveness outcomes (Hitt et al 32).
The business environment has become increasingly competitive and in order for firms to achieve their set goals and objectives and remain competitive, it is important to approach the issue of strategic management as both an art and a science. To start with, the art aspect of strategic management aids in the formulation, execution, and implementation of the strategy. In addition, the art aspect of strategic management facilitates in handling of the human resource which is crucial for the success of the firm.
On the other hand, the science aspect of strategic management is important because the external and internal elements of the strategy formulation stage needs to be examined using qualitative and quantitative data. In addition, the different assumptions have to be tested and formulated as well. Therefore, a balance between art and a science in executive strategic management decision goes a long way into enabling a firm to achieve its goals and objectives, and to remain competitive as well.
Strategic management can be both a science and an art. It is a science since the formulation of a company’s plans calls for scientific research. Conversely, strategic management is an art because the implementation stage of plan differs in relation to the style and characteristics of managers. Strategic management is an amalgamation of interrelated factors, as opposed to a single factor. With the proper mixing, it can ensure greater growth of a firm.
Hanson, Dallas, and Dowling, Peter. Strategic management: competitiveness and globalization. South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Thomson, 2008. Print.
Hoffman, Richard. The strategic planning process and performance relationship: does culture matter?, Journal of Business Strategies, 24.1(2007): 27-48.
Hitt, Michael, Ireland, Duane, Camp, Michael, and Sexton, Donald. Strategic management: competitiveness and globalisation, 5th edn. Singapore: Thomson/South-western, 2003. Print.
Katsioloudes, Marios. Strategic management: global cultural perspectives for profit and non-profit organizations. Jordan Hill, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier, 2006. Print.
Raps, Andreas. Implementing strategy. Strategic Finance,85.12(2004): 49-53.
Wheelen, Thomas, and Hunger, David. Strategic management and business policy. 11th edn. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.