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Strategy In Practice by Cliff Bowman

When I posted my review of

Strategy In Practice by Cliff Bowman

to Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars.

This means I think it is Good and Well Worthwhile.

Here is my book review.

A very practical guide to strategy for senior managers

This is a book for managers who contribute to the strategy debates going on within their businesses. It is very different from many of the strategy texts which are either written for MBA style students or for strategy experts.

Cliff Bowman is Professor of Strategic Management at Cranfield University in the UK. He is also the co-author of probably my favourite book on strategy, “Competitive & Corporate Strategy” – a lost classic.

The chapters in this “Strategy In Practice” book are:

Chapter 1 is an introduction to strategy including the commitment-quality grid.

2 introduces the customer matrix and the customer value map. It was seeing these graphics that first convinced me to buy Competitive and Corporate Strategy (back in the late 1990s) and they remain core elements of my thinking on differentiation and strategy. It then goes on to explain Bowman’s Strategic Clock.

3 is about sustaining advantage and introduces resource based theories of strategy in terms of how the underlying resources and capabilities can be imitated or “stolen” by competitors.

4 looks at the competitive environment and Michael Porter’s five forces and the industry life cycle.

5 examines the link between strategy, structure and processes.

6 looks at strategy and culture and chapter7 managing strategic change.

8 is a very quick overview of corporate strategy.

If you’ve managed to track down a copy of Competitive & Corporate Strategy and you’re happy with the academic approach, you don’t need to bother with Strategy In Practice. To that extent I was disappointed as I hope to pick up more practical tips on how to use the customer matrix, producer matrix and strategic pathways.

If you’re looking for an introduction to strategy from a management perspective, then Strategy In Practice is suitable and if you’re working with a strategy consultant or coach, it will give you the basis for some interesting discussions.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.


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