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3 Mintzberg’s ‘Five Ps for Strategy’

The next activity provides some prompts that can help you develop your critical thinking skills.

Activity 2 Critical thinking and reflection (Part 2)

Timing: Allow approximately 45 minutes

Read and perform a brief critical analysis of Henry Mintzberg’s (1987) ‘Five Ps for Strategy’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Please note that this link directs you to a third party website; you can read the article via this link, but please be aware that the Copyright Holder of the article is California Management Review, a University of California Publication since 1958.

The prompts that will help you to undertake the critical thinking exercise are set out below, grouped together under three main headings and designed to help you think around the text and interrogate an author’s ideas. Used constructively, they should help you to consider articles and readings in a broader critical context.

Start by reading Mintzberg’s paper, making notes as you go along, and then use the questions below and compare these with your own notes.

Interpreting the information

  • How would you summarise the paper?
  • What data does Mintzberg base his ideas on? Are limitations in the data acknowledged?
  • Does Mintzberg claim his ideas apply universally across all industries: service and manufacturing, public and private, and all geographic regions?

Analysing the material

  • Where was the article originally published?
  • What time has elapsed since its original publication? Does this matter?
  • What are the article’s strengths?
  • What are the article’s weaknesses?
  • Are limitations acknowledged?

Comparing and applying information

  • Are the main points relevant/irrelevant for your organisation or industry? If so, why?
  • What are the wider societal implications of the article, if any?
  • What’s missing from the article that you feel should be there?