In 1978, Henry Mintzberg explained his belief that strategy is an emergent process, forming over time, and that the idea of strategy as a rigid plan is outdated in the Journal 'Management Science'. The debate of Prescriptive vs. Emergent has been one of the most important in the world of strategy. Crafting Strategy (1987) expands on the idea of emergent strategy by, in the words of Grattan (2008) ''likening the strategy formulation process to a potter crafting a pot on a Wheel''. It is an article sitting firmly on the side of strategy as an emergent process rather than a prescriptive one. This article will attempt to place it within the world of strategy before analysing the articles strengths and weaknesses. .
Mintzberg believes you cannot formalize the process of strategy (Allio, 2011), and his literature supports this. In 'Rethinking Strategic Planning' (1994) he discusses how even the most carefully planned of strategy will inevitably exhibit emergent qualities, and that the learning process is the most important part of strategy. Crafting Strategy (1987) and its potter metaphor is highly consistent with all of Mintzberg's work regarding strategy. Of course, Mintzberg claims to recognise the importance of planning (Lloyd, 1992) but does not think it is the core of the strategic process as discussed the book 'The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning' (Mintzberg, 1994) and this idea his central to his views and to the article Crafting Strategy. .
The idea of strategy as an emergent process has much support from the academic community. For example, Johnson et al (2010) suggest that strategy as an emergent process must become canonical if strategy is to stay relevant in a changing world, and Goold and Quinn (1990) state that very deliberate and precise plans of action don't work very well for the companies of the modern age. The amount of support in the literature for the overall idea of Emergent strategy would suggest that Crafting Strategy (1987) is strongly backed up in its ideas and support of Emergent Strategy by actual business practise and results.