STRATEGY IS DESTINY: How Strategy-Making Shapes a Company's Future

Robert A. Burgelman, Author, Andrew S. Grove, Foreword by . Free Press $32.50 (464p) ISBN 978-0-684-85554-7

Granted unprecedented access to Intel, Stanford Business School professor Burgelman was able to observe how the company's strategies at key moments helped shape its history. Specifically, he looks closely at the decisions Intel's top managers made as the company evolved from being a memory-chip company to a firm whose product is now a central building block of the Internet. From there he works outward, drawing four distinct lessons from the Intel story: embrace a strategy as a way of imposing order; when that strategy proves useless, spend a lot of time studying why (since the forces rendering your strategy worthless might lead to a huge opportunity); capitalize on your core strengths and search out new prospects simultaneously; and manage the change process aggressively. Most strategy books look at numerous companies and trends, and then try to distill the lessons to a central approach. Burgelman takes the opposite approach, generalizing from what he has discovered by studying one company in depth. If readers can get past the minutiae (Burgelman seems compelled to record everything that has happened in the company's more than 30-year history), his lessons could be greatly useful to senior managers grappling with how to integrate strategy into day-to-day operations. (Feb.)

Forecast:Burgelman and Intel's chairman, Andrew Grove, have co-taught a course at Stanford for several years, and the author's closeness with his subject should attract serious businesspersons. Booksellers who display this title alongside Grove's recent memoir, Swimming Across (Forecasts, Sept. 17) should see increased sales.

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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