Strategy Safari (FT Prentice Hall, 2002), subtitled "A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management" by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel is an overview of the full field of academic and business studies of strategy, based on a previous lecture series by Mintzberg.
In addition to an overview of existing meta-theories of strategy, including the "five Ps" (strategy as plan, ploy, pattern, perspective, position), the authors find ten separate schools of strategy, which are:
- The environmental school
- The cognitive school
- The entrepreneurial school
- The power school
- The positioning school
- The cultural school
- The planning school
- The learning (or emergent) school
- The design school
- The configuration (or transformation) school
The underlying thesis of the book is that the 'strategy beast' is not any one of these, but that each school represents a partial picture of what strategy is. Academics may find it convenient to examine parts of strategy, assert the authors, but managers need to be able to work with the entire, living beast.
Change in position
Strategy Safari is a radical departure from Mintzberg's previous position, in that it seeks to understand, categorise, and find value in the entire range of strategic thinking. With his co-authors Ahlstrand and Lampel, Mintzberg reviewed more than 2,000 texts in preparation of Strategy Safari.
FT Prentice-Hall's Mastering Strategy begins with a monograph summary of Strategy Safari, written by the original authors. This underlines the importance of the contribution of Strategy Safari. A very large number of reviews and summaries of the book are available online. Common themes of these reviews include
- The clear, often humorous, style of the authors
- The practical nature of the authors' approach
- The comprehensive nature of the classification