“Doing” strategy

Jonathan Pugh (Darden School, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
L. Jay Bourgeois III (Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Publication date: 17 May 2011



Most of today's conversations around crafting business strategy center on which strategic framework is most appropriate for a firm, its strategist, or CEO to use. This opinion piece seeks to argue that the focus on frameworks is inappropriate and distracts businesses from crafting holistic and adaptive strategies. To rectify the situation, it aims to offer a more inclusive model for arriving at strategic insights. It also suggests a method for implementing this model throughout the enterprise.


The paper clarifies that the frameworks are really many different sides of the same coin and are, at best, approximations for how strategy is “really” developed. But what does that mean in terms of actually “doing” strategy? Is this not the point of strategy literature, consultants, and business schools, to teach us? While one does not purport to have all the answers on this front, one has begun to develop a theory around how different tools available to the strategic thinker can be brought together to develop as robust a strategic process as possible.


Ultimately, strategy is about learning, discovering, and inventing. Strategy analysis tools aid in the learning – about the industry, one's realized strategies, one's capabilities and economics. The tools are also tools of discovery: what options make their appearance as one goes through the data and analytical processes to interpret the data? Both of these – learning and discovery – should reveal the low‐hanging fruit for incremental improvement of the current position. It is only after much homework and intellectual sweat that the inventions and potential blue oceans sparked by strategic intuition come to the fore. That is the source of true strategic invention and innovation.


The paper should be useful to strategy practitioners and leaders of organizations as they guide their institutions into the future.



Pugh, J. and Bourgeois, L. (2011), "“Doing” strategy", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 172-179. https://doi.org/10.1108/17554251111128637

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.