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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article aims to describe the evolution of thinking about business strategy over the forty or so years in which it has been identified as a distinct subject of study, and makes some suggestions about its possible future development. It begins from the 1960s perspective in which strategy was largely equated with corporate planning, describes the 1970s emphasis on diversification and portfolio planning, and observes concern in the 1980s for concentration on the core business and the development of less analytic, more people-orientated approaches to management. It concludes with thoughts for the future. The article outlines the conventional, now unfashionable, but nevertheless still dominant rationalist approach to strategic thinking — scan the environment, assess your strengths and weaknesses, formulate the strategy, and then go on to secure its implementation. But the principal criticisms made of that approach is also noted.

Keywords: business strategy, corporate planning, diversification, portfolio planning, core business, strategy history

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