Strategy without design: the silent efficacy of indirect action

Robert Chia, R. Holt

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    241 Citations (Scopus)


    Strategy exhibits a pervasive commitment to the belief that the best approach to adopt in dealing with affairs of the world is to confront, overcome and subjugate things to conform to our will, control and eventual mastery. Performance is about sustaining distinctiveness. This direct and deliberate approach draws inspiration from ancient Greek roots and has become orthodoxy. Yet there are downsides. This book shows why. Using examples from the world of business, economics, military strategy, politics and philosophy, it argues that success may inadvertently emerge from the everyday coping actions of a multitude of individuals, none of whom intended to contribute to any preconceived design. A consequence of this claim is that a paradox exists in strategic interventions, one that no strategist can afford to ignore. The more single-mindedly a strategic goal is sought, the more likely such calculated instrumental action eventually works to undermine its own initial success.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages248
    ISBN (Print)978-0-521-89550-7
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2009


    • strategy
    • design
    • efficacy


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