Business strategy represents clearly identified
feasible route for steering activities onto
attainment of goals and objectives.
“Strategy is the process of deciding how to best
position the organisation in its competitive
environment in order to achieve and sustain
-Paul Elkin, Mastering Business Planning and Strategy
“The direction and scope of an organisation over
the long term, which achieves advantage in a
changing environment through its configuration
of resources and competences with the aim of
fulfilling stakeholder expectations.”
- Johnson and Scholes, Exploring Corporate Strategy
Three Levels of Strategy
1. Corporate Level Strategy
2. Business Unit Level Strategy
3. Functional/Operational Level Strategy
Corporate Level Strategy
This comprises overall strategy elements for the firm.
Resolving issues pertaining to mix of businesses and
means for coordination and integration of individual
It’s concerned with the following:
Managing Activities and Business Interrelationships.
Business Unit Level Strategy
This involves translation of the corporate level strategy into
suitable strategies for individual business divisions or
portfolios, required to develop and sustain competitive
advantage for products or services of the firm.
This is concerned with the following:
Influencing the layout of competition by means of action such
as vertical integration.
Positioning the firm’s business against competitors.
Modifying actions to cope with changes in demand, supply,
regulations and technology.
Developing useful partnerships with customers and other
Functional/ Operational Level Strategy
This involves development of strategies for
functional catchments such as business
development, production, finance, human
resource and materials management.
This is concerned with implementation of the
strategic plans established at corporate and
business unit levels.
Special Strategy Silos
• Strategic Business Unit (SBU) Strategy
• International Strategy
Developing Strategic Options
A strategy portfolio consists of strategic options which enable a firm
to take advantage of distinctive leveraging points in order to
ensure appropriate alignment to objectives while reacting to
competitors or exploring opportunities.
Examples of leveraging points are as follows:
Economies of Scale
Classes of Strategy
Attack Strategy Defense Strategy
1. Guerilla Attack
3. Flanking Attack
4. Frontal Attack
5. Undifferentiated Circle
6. Differentiated Circle
1. Signaling Defense
2. Creating Entry Barriers
3. Global Service
4. Pre-emptive Strike
5. Blocking Entry
7. Holding the Ground
Adapted from Jorge Vasconcellos, Strategy Moves
Organic and Inorganic Growth
This occurs when the growth strategy is
This occurs when a firm opts to implement
growth strategy externally through merger,
acquisition or alliance.
Motivations for Global Strategies
Source: David Aaker, Developing Business Strategies
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
- Peter Drucker
“The make-or-break issue isn't just what
separates you from the competition in the
marketplace. It's what holds you together in the
workplace. Organizations built around unique
strategies are at their best when rank-and-file
colleagues share and express genuine emotions.
That's the new question facing leaders in all
kinds of industries.”
- Bill Taylor, How One Company’s Turnaround Came From The Heart
Culture functions like an operating system of
computer thereby providing definite process
environment for operability of strategy.
Interactivity of Culture and Strategy
Source: Elijah Ezendu, Cultural Analysis
“Corporate culture is a system of shared values,
assumptions, beliefs, and norms that unite the
members of an organization.”
- Kathryn Bartol, Management
Functions of culture
Source: Kreitner and Kinicki, Organisational Behaviour
Culture and Goals
The components of a corporate culture
determines the extent of its dynamism towards
specified goals and objectives.
The Importance of Cultural Thrust
Without the right cultural thrust, internal
activities may be steered by cultural
polarizations to transform into a colossal web of
disjointed appendages filled with uncertainties.
Cultural Analysis focus on identification of the
key components of an organisation’s culture and
ascertainment of resultant alignment with
strategic intent, strategies, policies and business
Two Levels of Cultural Analysis
• Analysis of Elements of Culture
• Analysis of Cultural Expressions
14 Forces of Corporate Culture by Elijah Ezendu
This highlights flow, pattern, strength and ambit
of active leadership across the whole
organisation moving from top to bottom.
It’s the characteristic motion of members of an
organisation operating as a team for
achievement of specified objectives.
This focus on prevailing standard of
communication, conventional workplace
language and existing processes for exchanging
information in an organisation.
The mentality of employees and other workers
pertaining to stated values, mission, vision,
policies, strategies, procedures and action plans
of the organisation.
•Biggest organisation in sector of operation
Rituals and Routines
These are practices such as repetitive tasks and
meetings that overindulge employees thereby
calibrating them into inertia and influencing
their focus and drive.
•Clique driven activities
This highlights tales about achievements,
ownership, future opportunities, as well as past
events that generated either negative or
positive impact on people, profit, products,
policies, strategies, size, structures and systems.
•No future for non-indigenes at top
•It’s a family business
The compliance level of employees to
established standards is usually influenced by
control systems existing in that organisation.
Attributes of control systems used for
classification include effectiveness, efficiency,
scope, scale, elements and type.
Examples of Control Systems:
•Technology Driven Reports
Organisational structures show hierarchical
levels, reporting relationships, span of positional
responsibilities, work-flow system, authority and
control. It reveals operational philosophy of the
This essentially affects employee’s perception
about command forces and pressures relating to
decision-making in the workplace, the basis of
power and spread of power. It provides room for
mutual understanding concerning reasons for
inclination, action, submissiveness, abandonment
•Power is driven through position
•Strong team power
Symbols are inventories of clarified components
of organisational identity, and serve as
communication channels to employees and
other people connected to the organisation.
What are beliefs, values and assumptions?
This points out the features put in place for
promoting and advancing interaction,
collaboration, sense of belonging, teamwork
•Employee-centric social media
•Social Programmes such as periodic novelty
Cultural Expressions 1
• Length of Work-Day
• Internal Communication
• External Communication
• Style of Dress
• Reputation of CEO
• Rate of Staff Turnover
• Work-Life Balance
Cultural Expressions 2
• Physical Facilities
• Value for Employees
• Employee Morale
• Risk Evaluation for Decision-Making
• Ethical Compliance
• Learning Standard
Cultural Expressions 3
• Inclination to Organisational Goals
• Plainness of Structure
• Employee Evaluation Practices
• Employee-Employee Relationships
• Employee- Employer Relationships
• Standard of Organisational Values
• Esprit de Corps
• Gender Philosophy
Cultural Expressions 4
• Work Environment Standard
• Compensation Competitiveness
• Career Advancement
• Employee Perception of Corporate Image
• Educational Level of Employees
• Employee Motivation
• Adaptability and Flexibility
Aligning Business Strategy with
In effect, the whole goal for aligning business
strategy with corporate culture is to ensure the
components of active culture within the
organisation would facilitate seamless
operability for established strategies.
Assessing Strategy-Culture Compatibility
Is the planned strategy compatible
with the current culture?
Can the culture be modified to
make it more compatible with the
Is management willing and able to
make major organizational
changes and accept probable
Manage around the culture by
establishing a new structural unit
to implement the new strategy.
Find a joint-venture partner or
contract with another company
to carry out the strategy.
Is management still committed
to implementing the strategy?
Formulate a different strategy
Tie changes into the culture.
Source: Anthony Chelte, Strategy Implementation
“Corporate culture provides the human glue
that can rally the collective energy of your
company toward improvements and
accomplishments, or it can be the glue that
fastens your organization to the way things have
- Kevin Craine, Corporate Culture & Document Design Strategy
Using the 14 elements of corporate culture,
conduct a basic cultural analysis of your
organisation and try to identify any disconnect
between a known strategy being used therein
and the culture.
Dr Elijah Ezendu is Award-Winning Business Expert & Certified Management Consultant with expertise
in Interim Management, Strategy, Competitive Intelligence, Transformation, Restructuring, Turnaround
Management, Business Development, Marketing, Project & Cost Management, Leadership, HR, CSR, e-
Business & Software Architecture. He had functioned as Founder, Initiative for Sustainable Business
Equity; Chairman of Board, Charisma Broadcast Film Academy; Group Chief Operating Officer, Idova
Group; CEO, Rubiini (UAE); Special Advisor, RTEAN; Director, MMNA Investments; Chair, Int’l Board of
GCC Business Council (UAE); Senior Partner, Shevach Consulting; Chairman (Certification & Training),
Coordinator (Board of Fellows), Lead Assessor & Governing Council Member, Institute of Management
Consultants, Nigeria; Lead Resource, Centre for Competitive Intelligence Development; Lead
Consultant/ Partner, JK Michaels; Turnaround Project Director, Consolidated Business Holdings Limited;
Technical Director, Gestalt; Chief Operating Officer, Rohan Group; Executive Director (Various Roles),
Fortuna, Gambia & Malta; Chief Advisor/ Partner, D & E; Vice Chairman of Board, Refined Shipping;
Director of Programmes & Governing Council Member, Institute of Business Development, Nigeria;
Member of TDD Committee, International Association of Software Architects, USA; Member of Strategic
Planning and Implementation Committee, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria;
Country Manager (Nigeria) & Adjunct Faculty (MBA Programme), Regent Business School, South Africa;
Adjunct Faculty (MBA Programme), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology; Editor-in-Chief, Cost
Management Journal; Council Member, Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria; Member, Board of
Directors (Several Organizations). He holds Doctoral Degree in Management, Master of Business
Administration and Fellow of Professional Institutes in North America, UK & Nigeria. He is Innovator of
Corporate Investment Structure Based on Financials and Intangibles, for valuation highlighting
intangible contributions of host communities and ecological environment: A model celebrated globally
as remedy for unmitigated depreciation of ecological capital and developmental deprivation of host
communities. He had served as Examiner to Professional Institutes and Universities. He had been a
member of Guild of Soundtrack Producers of Nigeria. He's an author and extensively featured speaker.