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10 Strategic Schools


1 - Design School (block 1)
2 - Planning School (block 2)
3 - Positioning School (block 2)
4 - Entrepreneurial School (block 3)
5 - Cognitive School (block 4)
6 - Learning School (block 4)
7 - Power School (block 5) 
8 - Cultural School (block 6)
9 - Environmental School (block 7)
10 - Configuration School (block 8)


Block 2

- Planning and Positioning Schools - Relationship between business and technology planning - Planning - structure, formal, logical steps, it goes through to implementation, analytical and data based, at the end it cycles through again. - Positioning - look at the end then work towards getting to that end point - TOOLS: Gregory 5 process Model (5 ovals, external and internal environments),



1 - Design School (block 1) 2 - Planning School (block 2) 3 - Positioning School (block 2) 4 - Entrepreneurial School (block 3) 5 - Cognitive School (block 4) 6 - Learning School (block 4) 7 - Power School (block 5) 8 - Cultural School (block 6) 9 - Environmental School (block 7) 10 - Configuration School (block 8)


Block 1

- Design School
- Technology strategy can be designed using internal and external factors
- Deliberate and emergent strategy

- Getting it wrong (No Strategy, Lost strategy / strategic drift, Wrong strategy)

- TOOLS: SWOT, STEEPV, Strategic Conversation (formal or informal)

- Left (application, product, production)
- Top (Artefact, Knowledge, Mode of enquiry and action)


Exam Question (Part 1, Question 1)

a) explain why and organisation might audit it's technology capabilities. Outline the questions that you would expect a technology audit to answer.

b) summarise two techniques that you might use within a technology audit. indicating how you would apply them in an example organisation, and illustrating the outcomes that you might reasonably expect.

Schools: block 2
Process words: explain, outline
Tools: SWOT, Ford & Saren Tech Audit Questions
Answer: - identify strengths and weaknesses (internal.. not opportunities and threats.. those are external and future)

Schools: block 2
Process words: summarise, illustrate
Tools: Value Chain analysis (B2), Classification of emerging/pacing/key/base technologies (B2), analysis meanings of tech (B1), SWOT (B1), opportunity discovery review (B3), dynamic capability (B4), Trajectory maps (B8)
Answer: - audit present not future


Exam 4/12 (Part 1, Question 1)

Examine the reasons for, aims, outcomes and limitations of long- and short- term forecasting within strategic technology planning. Use an example wherever possible.

(16 marks)
Briefly describe two techniques from T846 that can provide strategic technology forecasts.

(8 marks)

Contrast the two techniques, with regard to circumstances in which they are more useful and less useful.

(10 marks)

Process Words:

Process Words:

Process Words:


Exam Question (Part 1, Question 2)

Imagine that you have been asked to present the colleagues of your evaluation of the likely medium- to long-term improvements in the performance of a technology on which your organisation's strategy depends.

a) Compare the features of two analytical techniques for their contributions to your evaluation and your effective presentation of it.

b) Assess the relative effectiveness of both techniques, for your evaluation and for it's presentation to colleagues. Outline any reservations you may have about what you have been asked to present.

Schools: Block 2, Block 8
Process Words: Compare
Tools: Technology Roadmaps (B2), Technology S-Curve (B8), Trajectory Maps (B8), Learning Curves (B1)
Answer: Choose tools based on presentation, and compare.

b) Schools: Block 2, Block 8
Process Words: Outline
Tools: Technology Roadmaps (B2), Technology S-Curve (B8), Trajectory Maps (B8), Learning Curves (B1)
Answer: If you can show good and bad, that would help as there is the word "realitive".


Exam Specimen (Part 1, Question 3)

(a) Distinguish strategic conversation from (i) strategic planning and (ii) performance conversation.
10 marks

(b) Describe at least two techniques that you believe are particularly well suited to usage in strategic conversation, and justify your belief.
24 marks

School: Block 1, Block 2
Process Words: Distinguish
Tools: Strategic converstation, strategic planning, performance converstation.
Answer:  Strategic converstation moves company forward.  Performance converstation is external and real world as part of B8. 

School: Block 2
Process Words: Justify
Tools: Strategic converstation, strategic planning, performance converstation.
Answer:  strategic planning is formal way of doing stratgic converstation. SWOT (B1), 


Exam Specimen (Part 2, Question 4)

(a) Outline your preferred definition of organisational culture, and explain why you find it the most helpful in the context of technology strategy.

(b) Compare the extent to which the culture of an example organisation has shaped its technology strategy and, conversely, the extent to which the same organisation’s technology has influenced its culture.

School: Block 6
Process Words: Outline, Explain
Tools: Bowman, Cultutral dimentions
Answer:  Choose any and just backup why they are helpful or not.

Explaining a preference usually entails a comparison. You would gain more marks by bringing in another definition and explaining why you prefer one over the other.

School: Block 6
Process Words: Compare
Tools: Influence diagram
Answer:  Go into more detail with a diagram or more examples. 

Given a well-described example, the comparison of extents of influence need not take much time. You merely need to judge the relative strength of influence in both directions, gaining marks for critical thinking.


Exam Specimen (Part 2, Question 5)

With reference to an example organisation:

(a) Explain and illustrate the kinds of power and influence that the organisation’s suppliers and customers have over its technology strategy, and conversely that the organisation can exert over them by means of its technology strategy.

16 marks

(b) Discuss at least two ways in which the organisation might profitably respond to attempts by its technology suppliers to exert influence on its technology strategy. In your discussion, highlight the relative merits of each response.

17 marks

School: Block 5
Process Words: Explain, Illustrate
Tools: Dimentions of power, sources of power, types of influence
Answer:  Use models from course in answer

An interesting aspect of this question is that answers may vary greatly according to the example. Nevertheless, some concepts would appear in most answers, e.g. the expert power of a technical supplier.

School: Block 5
Process Words: Discuss
Tools: Dimentions of power, sources of power, types of influence
Answer:  Use models from course in answer

At least two interpretations of this question are possible (and you may find more). One is to respond to power with power. Block 5 makes the point that power is essentially dynamic, so that either a power struggle or actions to change the balance of power is a reasonable response. Answers in this vein ought to connect with the definitions of power in part (a) . Answers being example-based, you could let your imagination run riot as to the actions possible (e.g. discredit the expert, or poach the expert from the supplier).
A second interpretation would draw on the competitive response framework in Block 7, for which see Question 6.


Exam Specimen (Part 2, Question 6)

(a) Outline and distinguish between the types of strategic response that are available to an organisation that seeks to shape its institutional environment. Identify which responses you believe to be reactive and which proactive, indicating your reasoning.

15 marks

(b) Discuss the extent to which an example organisation would be able to be proactive in shaping its institutional environment. You will need to describe the organisation sufficiently to illustrate your answer, but no more. Indicate the sources of power that the organisation can draw upon in responding to institutional pressure.

18 marks

School: Block 7 (environmental)
Process Words: Outline, Distinguish
Tools: Influence Diagrams
Answer:  Focus on examples both from class and from real world.

Unusually, this is a purely conceptual question, though no doubt answers can be improved by citing technological examples. The question repays careful interpretation. It asks you to further categorise responses beyond the level reached in the block. It asks only about responses that shape the environment, so you should exclude those that shape the organisation instead. Within the remainder, it asks which are proactive (i.e. before pressure is felt) and which are reactive (after pressure is felt). You would do well to include in your answer the reasoning behind your categorisation.

School: Block 7 (environmental), Block 5 (Power)
Process Words: Discuss, Describe, Illustrate
Tools: System maps, oliver (acquiesce, compromise, avoid, defy, manipulate, etc.). 
Answer: Focus on more examples. 

This part essentially asks you to apply the concepts that you have developed in part (a) to a real example. To answer the question, your discussion will have to show critical awareness (e.g., this concept really helps to describe what the organisation did ... that one does not ... perhaps it is a vague concept, because ... suppose instead we look at things this way ... and so on).

Note the overt request to connect with the concept of sources of power in Block 5. What kind of power might enable the organisation to succeed in shaping its institutional environment?


Exam Specimen (Part 3, Question 7)

Strategy Safari’s Positioning School offers generic strategies for positioning products in markets. Clearly many people find them helpful in the context of business strategy, but this question asks for your views on positioning in the context of technology strategy.

(a) Discuss the relevance of generic product-market strategies to an organisation’s technology strategy. In your discussion, distinguish between their relevance to technology producers and to technology users.

(b) Describe one other concept from T846 that can analyse the market position of an organisation’s technology. Discuss the use of the concept and its limitations.

School: Block 2 (planning & positioning)
Process Words: Discuss, Distinguish
Tools: Meanings of technology (product, production, application), Porter, 
Answer: How do the theorys help position. 

If your organisation is primarily a technology user, you are likely to have a different view of the worth of positioning, because you are on the demand side of the market rather than the supply side. You might discuss by example whether such an organisation needs to take account of the positions of its potential suppliers when forming its own technology strategy.

School: Block 2 (planning & positioning)
Process Words: Describe, Discuss
Tools: Marking mix, market analysis, technology frames, configuration profiles, tratretory maps
Answer: Each model would have its particular usefulness and limitations, ranging from the practicalities and cost of data collection to the political or cultural acceptability of the approach in a given organisation.


Exam Specimen (Part 3, Question 8)

Imagine that the head of technology in a sister organisation describes her frustration at being unable to persuade her (usually supportive) bosses to adopt and improve a radical new technology, which she is convinced will eventually enable them to give customers market-leading value. There is no suggestion of incompetence or bad intent on anyone’s part. She has heard of something called ‘core rigidity’ and wonders whether her bosses are suffering from it.

(a) Explain to your colleague the concept of core rigidity, and outline the kind of evidence that might diagnose its presence or absence.

(b) Describe at least one other possible explanation of your colleague’s problem, using concepts from T846. In your description, outline the kind of evidence or analysis that might support or oppose the explanation.

School: Block 4 (Cognitive and Learning)
Process Words: Eplain, Outline
Tools: Core regidity 
Answer: The sister company got it wrong.. must clarify what core regidity really is.

The perplexing paradox in managing core capabilities is that they are core rigidities. That is, a firm’s strengths are also – simultaneously – its weaknesses.

In outlining the kind of evidence that you would look for, you would demonstrate your ability to apply the concept of core capability and rigidity. There is no right answer, but potential symptoms would include mindless routine in key processes, managerial systems that block development, values contrary to a new technology, skills made redundant by a new technology, insularity, and a culture that discourages challenges.

School: Block 8
Process Words: Describe, Outline
Tools: New value network (B8), 

Following this approach, models and techniques from the elements of the course in your review would be good candidates for outlining the evidence you might need. Taking just one instance, the phrase ‘radical new technology’ suggests an architectural innovation that may require a new value network (Block 8 Section 3.2.3). This could be analysed by comparing the old and new performance architecture/regime. If the old architecture/regime had become a fixed ‘way we do things around here’ and could not be changed, the organisation (rather than your colleagues’ bosses) would indeed have a core rigidity. In this instance you would be able to connect the two parts of the answer.


Exam Specimen (Part 3, Question 9)

It has been said that the best approaches to strategy formation combine deliberate planning with emergence. Explain how technology strategy formation can be designed to incorporate deliberate and emergent processes. Illustrate your answer with examples.

School: Block 1, Block 2
Process Words: Explain, Illustrate
Tools: Any.. open ended question

It is best to start with definitions. In this instance, you would define deliberate and emergent strategy formation. The key distinction is that deliberate strategy is associated with anticipated outcomes, emergent strategy with unanticipated outcomes. Here are some instances where different perspectives can contribute.

Block 1 Figure 3 shows how deliberate and emergent strategy can coexist in general. It might be useful to annotate it with the facts of a particular example.
Block 2 Box 7 suggests several mechanisms whereby strategic planning can allow for emergent strategy:
• a shift from forecasting to scenario planning
• less documentation and more strategic conversation focused round a few
key performance variables
• decentralise planning responsibilities to line managers and business unit plans
• shorter time horizons, especially in the downstream value chain
• set broad goals rather than detailed plans.
It might be interesting to consider whether these actions would have the desired effect within a particular organisation’s culture (or whether, for instance, they would be subverted or rejected).


Gregory 5 Process Model of Tech Mgmt

B2) 5 ovals



P             S

E     A




Leonard dimensions of a core dynamic capability

B4) onion



I              I



Problem Solving
Implementing and Integrating
Experimenting and Prototyping
Importing Knowledge

Physical Systems
Managerial Systems
Skills & Knowledge




Handy Sources of Power

B5) List



physical power
resource power
position power
expert power
personal power


Porter's 5 Forces

B2) 5 boxes



S   CR   B



New Entrants



Morgan Organisations and modes of Political Rule

B5) List 



Representative democracy
Direct democracy


Process Word (Analyse)

Resolve into its component parts, examine critically or minutely.


Process Word (Assess)

Determine the value of, weight up - see also Evaluate


Process Word (Compare and contrast)

find some points of common ground between two or more items and show where or how they are different.


Process Word (Compare)

Look for and show the similarities and differences between examples, perhaps reach a conclusion about which is preferable and justify this.


Process Word (Contrast)

Set in opposition in order to bring out the differences - you may also note that there are similarities.


Process Word (Criticise)

Make a judgement backed by a reasoned discussion of the evidence involved, describe the merit of theories or opinions or the truth of assertions.


Process Word (Define)

Give the exact meaning of a word or phrase, perhaps examine different possible or often used definitions.


Process Word (Describe)

Give a detailed account of


Process Word (Discuss)

explain, then give two sides of the issue and any implications.


Process Word (Distinguish / differentiate between)

Look for differences between.


Process Word (Evaluate)

make an appraisal of the worth / validity / effectiveness of something (but not so that it is your personal opinion) and give evidence from course materials. See also Assess.