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Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning Hardcover – January 31, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

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It is with intended irony that Mintzberg, former president of the Strategic Management Society, proclaims the fall of strategic planning. Author of the seminal The Nature of Managerial Work (1973), Mintzberg traces the rise of strategic planning from 1965, noting the fervor with which it came to be embraced, and analyzes its origins and history. His main thesis is that planning and strategy making are mutually exclusive activities. While acknowledging a vital role for planning, he claims that the process can straitjacket an organization by stifling innovation and commitment. On the other hand, strategy making is a fluid, informal process requiring adaptability. Mintzberg includes an impressive amount of research in this scholarly, readable treatise, and he suggests how strategy making and planning can be implemented to complement each other. This should prove to be an important work. David Rouse

About the Author

Henry Mintzberg is a visiting professor at INSEAD in France and a two-time winner of the prestigious McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada -- the first fellow elected from a management faculty -- he is the author of several seminal books including Mintzberg on Management (Free Press, 1989).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (January 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780029216057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029216057
  • ASIN: 0029216052
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning is an important book, whose significance goes well beyond its subject. Most leaders, managers, and companies have adopted methods of deciding what to do and how to implement them without considering the fundamental assumptions and experiences with those methods. In essence, this important knowledge work is back where the planning of manual work was before Frederick Taylor. What he says has implications for quality, production planning, capacity expansions, new product design, IT, and many ohter functions, processes and activities.
Before you dismiss this point as being merely of academic interest, consider several of Mintzberg's more telling points: Forecasting is seldom accurate for long; creating intense alignment in the wrong direction can make a company vulnerable to sudden shifts in the market; formal staffs can simply create political games; and thinking that is not linked into the important processes of the company will have limited impact. If those points are right, what does it mean about how work should be performed in your organization?
Having been there and done that as both a strategic planner in the early 1970s and a strategy consultant before that, I recognize the disease as he diagnoses it. In fact, many of the people he quotes and evaluates are people I know. I also saw many of the companies improve themselves by doing less planning.
You can only cover so much in one book, but the potential of strategic work is to improve significant communications, thinking and action in the enterprise. That can help eliminate the significant stalls that delay progress. If Professor Mintzberg decides to do a second edition of this book, I hope he will do more with those subjects.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Biehl on August 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Throughout the history of quality management, practitioners have had to be knowledgeable and conversant in the areas of most interest to their respective organizations. In most years, this has involved dealing with issues surrounding how to run a better project to build a better information system. The quality practitioner has always had a role in developing methodologies, deploying tools, measuring processes and quality, and facilitating organizational change. The basic assumption that the information technology function exists to build systems and operate data centers in which to run those system was rarely challenged. The advent and proliferation of personal computers, and the more recent shift toward client/server computing, represented only variations on the common theme. Quality professionals have been seen as adding value to the extent that they have been knowledgeable and conversant in these key areas.
More recently however, information technology organization! s have been forced to question their own very existence. Many of the issues have been around for quite some time: decentralization of processing power and application knowledge, outsourcing of development and operations functions, growing maturity of the purchased package application arena, etc. Large systems integrators have created value adding umbrella functions over these service domains, and in the process, have created very real competition for once confident and embedded information technology organizations. Information technology managers are struggling to think about, and correctly act upon, these strategic changes in the industry.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mesaglio on May 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Henry Mintzberg is, as always, the iconoclast. It is well worth reading any book he writes because, invariably, he presents an alternative perspective on how business and how organisations work, generally one which drives from the combined power of both a theoretician and an experimentalist - a rare breed indeed.
The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning is no exception. It is a book about finding a general theory of strategic planning which, given that the search is rooted in Mintzberg's observations of what actually happens in the real world, has the potential for practical application.
His perspectives make one's understanding of the subject more complete; they promote one's ability to balance a potentially narrow view of the world with something richer. It doesn't really matter whether you think Mintzberg right or wrong, spot-on or off-beam, at least you have an alternative view. There are so many tidbits in his books that you invariably pick up something of worth.
From my own perspective, having read through (and intending to continue to read) the book on many occasions in my own attempts to implement some strategic planning concepts, I draw my own conclusions about two of Mintzberg's perspectives which I feel are worth commenting on.
Firstly, he takes the unique view of dividing the conventional planning model vertically along budget, objective, strategy and program lines (rather than cascading traditionally through corporate, business and functional lines down to actions). I have found, after much toying with this perspective, that it amounts to an hypothesis on how strategic planning actually works, and nothing more.
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