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Strategy Is Destiny: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company's Future Hardcover – February 5, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
According to Burgelman (management, Stanford Univ.), a researcher on internal corporate venturing and entrepreneurship, both "successful and unsuccessful strategies shape a company's destiny." Here he describes the theories and ideas behind successful strategies within the framework of Intel, based on his 12-year study of the company and his coteaching of Intel's case studies with its chair, Andrew Grove. Burgelman's extensive study was based on analysis of quantitative company data and interviews with company executives. The result is an ideal combination of theory and practice; theories of strategy are studied within the context of three epochs of Intel's history, during which the company experienced great upheaval, change, and growth. Bibliographic footnotes regarding Intel are provided. The financial highlights section and appendixes should be extremely useful to those researching the company. Burgelman's book should be required reading for management students and is highly recommended for business collections in academic libraries. Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Where Prof. Porter communicates complex ideas in simple terms, Prof. Burgelman finds extremely complicated ways to obscure simple ideas.
Luckily, this book is chock full of quotes and examples that Burgelman largely leaves untouched.
If you factor out Burgelman's poor organization, unbridled love for Intel, and penchant for incomprehensible prose, this is a great book. Burgelman was indeed provided unparalleled access to one of the most successful companies of the 20th century. The stories he tells are true. The quotes and examples are not self-serving.
The only thing missing here is a control group. Intel has entered the 21st century riding at least one strategic inflection point (a favorite term of Dr. Grove's). It would have been interesting if Burgelman would have stopped being a cheerleader for a moment and compared Intel to its closest analog: IBM of 10-15 years ago. Dr. Grove and Intel's "ESM" would be well-served to follow Dr. Grove's own advice and learn lessons from the past.
Still, a fascinating book, particularly for the competitive strategist. Not for the faint of heart.
There are many interesting episodes in the book, but there is absolutely no overview and there is no attention paid to alternative explanatins. He talks about Intel owning the RAM market in the mid 1970s and then in the mid 1980s they exited and focused on microprocessors. The authors main argument is that the transformation was driven by middle managers, often against the will of the top. Interesting, but the author is sloppy with timing. In 1984 they had 1% of the market, but in 1980 they had only 3%. So what happened between 1980 and 1984? Really four years of inertia? The author does not comment on these years at all. Instead he comments on the late 1970s. So what is the reader to do? The only option is to accept the author's conclusions.
Assume the reader would accept the author's thinking as valid. The reader then has to contend with the author's new terminology. The terminology is obscure and does not tie to any terminology used by other scholars. I suppose that might be acceptable if the author would had given us the important data in the book. No we are asked to believe his data as well as his terminology. The original research was published in the 1990 and nobody has used the author's terminology.
To the author: You could have written a great path-breaking book that academics and managers alike would find interesting. Sadly, you blew it.
I give the book 2 stars because there is a great deal of effort put into the book. With a bit more structure this book could have been a classic with a treasure trove of data. Now it is worth reading for the interaction of Intel enthusiasts and corporate strategy enthusiasts and academic inclination.
Robert Burgelman analysis of intel's transformation and the forces that shaped the company's future will be fascinated.
I could not stop reading this book once I started reading it. If you love strategy and technology, this book is for you.