Strategy On Strategic Management Within The Education Essay Example
Strategy On Strategic Management Within The Education Essay Example

Strategy On Strategic Management Within The Education Essay Example

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  • Pages: 11 (2817 words)
  • Published: December 14, 2017
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One possible approach to improving strategic management practices in the lifelong education sector of Hong Kong is by exploring the application of Henry Mintzberg and Joseph Lampel's ten schools of strategy formulation.

Over the last four decades, Hong Kong's economy has transitioned from one that relied on manufacturing to one centered around finance and service industries. In order to address challenges related to globalization and economic competition, lifelong learning and education are now crucial in building a knowledge-based society necessary for Hong Kong's survival. The strategic management of lifelong education reform in Hong Kong also aligns with Henry Mintzberg and Joseph Lampel's ten schools of strategy formulation.

The concept of Ten Schools encompasses various schools of thought and strategies for planning formation in the field of strategic managem


ent. This framework categorizes the different ways in which strategies are formulated, implemented, and work in strategic systems. Mintzberg and Lampel identified five key features of strategic planning, referred to as the “five P’s” - plan, pattern, position, perspective, and ploy.

Strategy can be defined in two ways. Firstly, as a plan which serves as a roadmap from the current state to the desired future end state. Secondly, as a pattern which reflects a consistent behavior over time. A high-end strategy, such as consistently marketing the most expensive products in the industry, is an example of this. Similarly, a high-risk strategy can be pursued by someone who always accepts the most challenging jobs.

In the realm of strategy, there are three different perspectives. First, strategy as position refers to the specific placement of products in certain markets. Second, strategy as perspective involves a business's overall philosophy and approach

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when interacting with customers or providing goods/services. This is sometimes referred to as the "theory of the business" according to Peter Drucker. Lastly, strategy as ploy involves a tactical maneuver aimed at gaining market dominance by outsmarting competitors.

Despite these three schools of thought, the process of strategy formulation remains largely ambiguous. It is unclear how an individual or group is able to move from information collection and analysis to developing alternative courses of action. Mintzberg and Lampel discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of strategic planning within organizations.

While strategy can provide direction and focus effort, it also has potential downsides. Blindly following a strategic plan can prevent an organization from recognizing new opportunities and diverse aspects of the company. Consistency is important, but relying on it without considering market demands can be detrimental. The ten schools of strategy are divided into prescriptive schools, which guide action based on current situations, and descriptive schools, which seek to understand a company's history and position.

Conception Process in the Design School

The Design School views strategy formation as a conception process that involves assessing the internal situation, such as strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats of an organization, and matching it with external environmental factors. This approach leads to developing a deliberate strategy and considering strategy formation as a conscious thought process. The CEO is responsible for controlling and maintaining awareness of the strategy formation process. The model of strategy formation should remain simple, and strategies should be unique and designed individually. The strategy system is considered a complete design process when strategies appear fully developed.

It is important to clearly state and simplify strategies before they can be effectively put into


The Planning School views formal planning as a structured process that involves analyzing the situation and exploring alternative scenarios. The strategy systems are based on systems thinking and cybernetics and are a controlled, conscious process that are broken down into specific steps with checklists and techniques to support them. The chief executive has overall responsibility for the process, but staff planners are responsible for its execution. Compared to the Design School, the resulting strategies are much more detailed and fully formed.

Explicit strategies require attention to objectives, budgets, programs, and operating plans to be effectively implemented. Organizational planning schools' thinking in the 70s and 80s led to the development of staff departments for analyzers and planners. However, this approach was also associated with several drawbacks, including take-over by staff departments, domination by staff, strategic systems lacking in results, a focus on mergers and acquisitions at the expense of core business development, failure to develop true strategic choices, overlooking organizational and cultural requirements of strategy, and inappropriate single-point forecasting in restructuring and uncertain contexts.

The Positioning School focuses on analyzing the current situation of an organization and finding ways to improve its competitive positioning within the industry. This approach prescribes strategy systems that focus on identifying common, generic positions in the marketplace. The marketplace is seen as both economic and competitive, and the dominant process involves selecting these positions through analytical calculation. Analysts play a crucial role by providing their calculations to managers who make the final decisions.

Strategies arising from both the design and planning school and the entrepreneurial school involve articulation followed by implementation. However, the latter has a greater emphasis on the external market structures

which play a key role in driving deliberate positional strategies. The entrepreneurial school is a visionary process that occurs within the mind of the organization's leader, without any specific design but rather a vague vision.

The entrepreneurial school describes strategy systems as processes primarily within the leader's mind. According to this school, strategies are focused on long-term direction and envisioning the future of the enterprise. The strategy system in this approach is largely semiconscious and rooted in the leader's intuition and experience, whether they create the strategy or adopt it. The leader is responsible for promoting the vision with a single-minded and sometimes obsessive approach, exercising close control over implementation processes to adjust specific aspects where needed.

Entrepreneurial strategy systems are characterized by a combination of deliberate and emergent elements. The overall vision and direction are deliberate, but the details of how that vision unfolds emerge over time. Typically found in start-ups, single-owner businesses, or turnarounds in larger companies, these enterprises are structured to respond to the leader's directives while suspending many procedures and power relationships to provide greater flexibility. Often taking the form of a niche strategy, entrepreneurial systems aim to protect one or more areas of market position from competition.

The Cognitive School focuses on analyzing the mental process of how people perceive patterns and process information to form strategies. These strategies are cognitive processes that occur in the mind of the strategist, emerging as perspectives in the form of concepts, maps, schemas, and frames. These viewpoints shape how individuals deal with inputs from the environment, which can be either interpreted through subjective perceptions or filtered through objective systems before being decoded by

cognitive maps. Achieving these strategy concepts is difficult and changing them can prove even more challenging when no longer viable.

There are different types of cognition that affect the functionality of strategy systems, including confusion, information processing, mapping, and concept attainment. Additionally, the learning school approach to strategy formation is seen as a continuous process of learning and adaptation based on experience. This approach involves closely monitoring what works and what doesn't work over time and incorporating these lessons into the organization's overall plan of action.

Deliberate control is not possible in the diffusion of knowledge bases necessary for strategy systems. While the leader may also learn, it is typically the collective system of the enterprise that learns. This results in numerous potential strategies at any given time. Learning occurs through emergent behavior which stimulates retrospective thinking to make sense of actions. Therefore, the leadership role is to manage the process of strategic learning rather than preconceive deliberate strategies, allowing novel strategies to emerge.

The development of strategies is a gradual process, starting with patterns from the past and eventually leading to plans and long-term perspectives for guiding behavior. One such strategy is the power school, which is based on the use of power to achieve goals through negotiation.

A negotiation process may occur within a company's power holders or between the company and external parties, resulting in emergent strategies in the forms of positions and ploys rather than perspectives. The micro power aspect of the power school regards strategy making as political games through persuasion, bargaining, confrontation, and shifting coalitions among parochial interests, with no dominant faction for a significant length of time. Meanwhile, the

macro power aspect of the power school perceives an enterprise as advancing its own welfare by controlling or cooperating with other enterprises through strategic maneuvering and collective strategies in diverse networks and alliances.

The Cultural School of strategy focuses on promoting common interests and facilitating integration through a process of social interaction. This process is grounded in the shared beliefs and understandings among members of an enterprise and is acquired through acculturation or socialization. The deeply embedded capabilities of the enterprise, which are indicative of its cultural beliefs, are reflected in the strategic patterns that give it a competitive edge. Despite the lack of full consciousness, this strategy is deliberate and not subject to significant change due to the perpetuation of existing ideology and culture.

The adoption of the strategy tends to drive a shift in the overall strategic perspective of the enterprise. The approach has been widely embraced by various cultural groups including the Japanese. (2.9)

The Environmental School takes a reactive approach to forming its strategy, responding to challenges from both internal and external environments. They develop plans that reflect a balance of these forces. The external context presents a set of general forces and is the central factor in the strategy making process for the enterprise.

The enterprise needs to react to external influences, otherwise it risks being eliminated. In this sense, leadership plays a role in observing the environment and ensuring suitable adjustments by the enterprise. Over time, enterprises tend to group together and stay in certain positions until resources are lacking or conditions become too challenging. Additionally, the Configuration School is a method of transformation that identifies consistent patterns of organizational structure

under specific circumstances.

Depending on their location and specific context, organizations can draw from a mix of any of the ten schools to complement each other in a process of transformation from one decision-making structure to another. In terms of Hong Kong's lifelong education strategy, it is necessary to first understand the different contexts in which this transformation has occurred. This includes the background of Hong Kong's economy and educational system, as well as the philosophy of lifelong education which emphasizes the importance of continuous learning for both self-actualization and social development.

In a speech given by Professor Arthur K C Li, Secretary for Education and Manpower at the International Conference on “Internationalization of Lifelong Education: Policy and Issues” Opening Ceremony in 2004, it was stated that lifelong education plays an integral role in fostering individual initiatives, responsiveness, and creativity. This leads to the development of a skilled and adaptable workforce that contributes to the growth of enterprises and maintains Hong Kong's overall competitiveness in a globalized economy. As such, lifelong education is central to Hong Kong's education policy at all levels.

Over the last four decades, Hong Kong's economy has experienced significant growth but due to limited natural resources, it has shifted from manufacturing to financial and service industries. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hong Kong relied heavily on labor-intensive manufacturing which made it renowned as a manufacturing hub. However, with China opening up its doors during the 1980s, manufacturers have migrated there rapidly resulting in the Pearl Harbor River Delta becoming dominant as a manufacturing hub.

Thanks to its favorable location and hands-off economic policy, Hong Kong has undergone a transformation in its economy. The city's

unrestricted currency access and proximity to the Delta have facilitated its shift towards financial services and other service-based industries. This transition has created a demand for highly skilled labor, posing challenges to the education system. By 1999, tertiary-educated individuals made up 34% of Hong Kong's workforce, compared to just 10% in the 1980s (as reported by the Statistical Yearbook). However, this figure pales in comparison to countries like the United States (81%, based on data from 1995), Australia (80%, as of 1997), United Kingdom (52%, as of 1996), and Republic of Korea (68%, based on data from 1997).

(Section 4.1 of P. K. W. Fong and G.)

According to C.W. Chan, Hong Kong's tertiary educated manpower ratio is insufficient for sustaining a knowledge-based economy and for competing against Asia and the rest of the world. In response to the challenges of globalization and economic transformation, former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, emphasized the significance of lifelong learning as a primary goal in the 1998 Policy Address for Hong Kong's education system.

The Hong Kong government has implemented various education reforms to develop talented individuals and turn Hong Kong into a Knowledge-based Society. Previously, human resource development was primarily the responsibility of the formal education system, but lifelong education (also known as continuing education) now plays a vital role. Lifelong education not only fills skill gaps but also transforms unemployable individuals into productive and employable ones to maintain competitiveness. Since 1997, several strategic management actions and programs have been implemented to facilitate these changes. These strategic management actions are relevant to the ten schools of strategy formulation outlined by Henry

Mintzberg and Joseph Lampel in the context of Hong Kong's lifelong education. 4.

Within the Hong Kong Lifelong education sector, the relevance of the Ten schools of strategy formulation and strategic management lies in their rootedness in a positional school approach. This approach focuses on the external environment as a driver for deliberate positional strategies. Hong Kong's economic situation was analyzed in light of globalization, as well as the loss of manufacturers to China under its open-door policy, and the lack of other natural resources. Despite this, Hong Kong's geographical advantage at the Pearl Harbor River Delta allowed for the positioning of Hong Kong into a knowledge-based society with a focus on a value-added service-based economy. However, sustaining a value-added service-based economy requires sustainable tertiary-educated manpower - something that Hong Kong lacked. As a solution to this problem, the Hong Kong government encouraged Lifelong education by establishing an Open University in 1997.

In 2002, the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) was set up to improve the quality of skilled workers for meeting the demand of economic transformation, especially for those without tertiary education. Initially, courses were designed to offer added value services such as Putonghua, English, logistics, Information technology, or for relating to China trade and business. However, government control of funding limited the choice of program under the Power School policy to achieve results in skilled manpower needs. Encouraging lifelong learning is a cultural response from society where the majority appreciates enriching their skills and employability through such education. In responding to Hong Kong's changing economy, the strategy of Environmental school guides Hong Kong's lifelong education experiences.

In the late 1980s, the Hong Kong government urged the

unemployed to enhance their skills by enrolling in training programs offered by the Employees Training Board. In response to the Financial crisis of 1997 and the bursting of the Information Technology bubble in 2001, the Employees Retraining Board has since allocated more resources, funding and training courses to assist the unemployed. Additionally, a Skills upgrading scheme was established in 2001 to further promote this idea. The Qualification Framework (QF) is a planned school, with Hong Kong's government beginning to explore the QF as a roadmap for lifelong learning and acquiring higher qualifications as early as 2002.

The QF, also known as the Qualifications Framework, utilizes generic level descriptors to classify different levels and ensure that all qualifications associated with the framework are quality assured. Its aim is to establish a flexible educational system that supports lifelong learning by connecting vocational and academic qualifications. This program offers an economical alternative to formal education which requires large amounts of funding annually while still achieving the same goal of tertiary education. Furthermore, this program is carefully designed to align with the step-by-step strategy of Lifelong Learning and is part of Configuration School where changes in lifelong education occur throughout the year.

The strategy used in Hong Kong's lifelong education depends on the current situation. Initially, the Position school focused on analyzing the economic position in 1997 and cultivating a knowledge-based society. This was followed by the Cultural school which aimed to fulfill basic human needs of self-satisfaction by promoting self-actualization. Later, the Power school was utilized by funding and controlling skilled manpower while the Environmental school transformed skills of unemployed individuals during an economic crisis. The Long-term planning

of Qualification Framework was also part of the Lifelong learning strategy. In conclusion, none of the ten schools of strategy formulation and strategic management is complete on its own. Instead, a configuration school is required where strategies are complementary and adaptable throughout the process.

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