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A study in comparative strategy using the Alanbrooke diaries

Robert F. Grattan (University of West of England, Bristol, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



The purpose of this paper is to draw conclusions on strategy formulation from an analysis of the “Alanbrooke” diaries. The approach is comparative, and uses the information in the diary and the forms of business strategies devised by Mintzberg et al., and with ideas on business alliances. The paper finds that the logical, planned approach of Alanbrooke is contrasted with the more entrepreneurial attitude of Churchill, but the combination of these contrasting traits led to effective strategy formulation. The difference in character of them and the resulting controversies were essential to make the right choices, and Churchill deliberately chose someone who was likely to oppose him. The research is limited by the possibility of bias in the diary. A practical implication is that leaders can benefit from choosing a strong, talented colleague, even though the stormy interactions can be wearisome. The value in this analysis is in the light it sheds on the way strategy is developed in a real situation and is also an indication of the value of the comparative approach to the study of strategy process.



Grattan, R.F. (2004), "A study in comparative strategy using the Alanbrooke diaries", Management Decision, Vol. 42 No. 8, pp. 1024-1036.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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