Business Strategy Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise 

Author: J.-C. Spender


"Business managers usually say more than they intend, so employees often interpret strategies differently and go in different directions. Spender re-examines strategizing under conditions of uncertainty, showing entrepreneurs construct special language to shape what others note and act on. He provides managers and consultants with a structured practice for value-creation". - Andrew H. Van de Ven, University of Minnesota

"Business Strategy Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise":

  • Written in an accessible and engaging style
  • Intended for managers, MBAs, and strategy consultants
  • Proposes a distinctively enterprising approach to strategy
  • Addresses uncertainty, judgement, and opportunity in the strategic process
  • Provides useful guides to the strategy literature and to using the book in the classroom

"What is strategy? For many it is the application of a theory, model or framework. In this book J.-C. Spender develops a different creative approach. Emphasizing that firms face uncertainties and unknowns (knowledge gaps) he argues that the core of strategic thinking and processes rests on the organization's leaders developing newly imagined solutions to the opportunities that these uncertainties open up.

Drawing on a wide range of ideas from strategy, economics, entrepreneurship and philosophy he stresses the importance of judgment in strategy, and argues that a key element of the entrepreneur and executive's task is to engage chosen uncertainties, develop a language to express and explain the firm's particular business model for dealing with these, and thus create innovation and value. At the same time he shows how the language the strategist creates to do this gives the firm identity and purpose, and communicates this to its members, stakeholders, and customers.

In an accessible and engaging style Spender introduces these ideas, and reviews the strategy tools currently available from consultants and academics. Throughout he stresses the uncertainties or knowledge absences that pervade business and make effective strategizing both necessary and valuable. He outlines a structured practice that managers and consultants might chose to follow, not a theory.

With appendices on casework, teaching strategy, current strategy texts, and further reading this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the field and practice of strategy, opening up new approaches for managers, consultants, strategy teachers and students."

Year of publication: 2014

ISBN 978-0-19-968654-4