Chapter 6

Strategic Analysis III: Supporting-Level Sense Making

Reason does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order to gradually progress from one level of insight to another.

—Immanuel Kant

In this chapter, we:
  • elaborate on the nature, role and application of supporting-level frameworks of strategic analysis in the context of sense making;
  • differentiate between supporting frameworks of analysis that probe and seek to provide insight on the firm's external competitive environment and those that focus on the firm-internal context;
  • introduce some key supporting-level frameworks related to external and internal analysis;
  • review and discuss the limitations of strategic analysis.

Strategic analysis is about sense making; it seeks to make sense of changes in the firm's external competitive environment that might require responsive action on the part of the firm. Good strategic analysis, we have argued earlier, begins with the framing of issues that are strategically relevant; these, in turn, give rise to strategic questions that demand to be addressed, if not resolved. It was further argued that it is always advisable to begin with a high-level positioning of the greater strategic context in question in order to “not lose sight of the wood for the trees”. Two high-level conceptual approaches suitable for that task – the value proposition and unique competing space frameworks – were introduced and examined in Chapter 5. The outcome of the ...

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