In 1998, Gary Hamel made the claim that strategists should be very embarrassed by the fact that they did not know where bold new innovative ideas came from. There was a gaping hole in organizational strategy theory.
Henry Mintzberg had claimed in 1994, that some part of realized strategy emerges, but he gave no mechanism for the emergent process.
A generation earlier, Ludwig von Bertalanffy had described the isomorphic properties or laws of general systems and concluded that each of two types of system, closed and open had laws that were unique or isomorphic to that type of system.
He implored scholars to examine “bureaucracy and business enterprise” as social systems and consequently examine their isomorphic properties.
Strategic planning is a closed system control enterprise but strategy creation is an emergent innovative process. The isomorphic law of systems claims that these two processes are incompatible. That was the problem with strategic planning and the background for this ‘Critical Management Study’.
A decade after its production, few understand the implications.
The results of this study were published in 2009 as a series of nine integrated papers in two special editions of the Journal of Management Development and these papers are available below. This is the previously unpublished thesis.