Neurocognitive Inefficacy of the Strategy Process

The most widely used (and taught) protocols for strategic analysis — SWOT and Porter’s (1980) Five Force Framework for industry analysis — have been found wanting as stimuli to strategy creation or even as a basis for further strategy development. We approach this problem from a neurocognitive perspective. We find profound incompatibilities between the mental image representations evoked by these strategic analysis frameworks and the neural processes going on within the brain that comprise “thinking.” The analytical structure (or “propositional representation”) of these tool results in a mental dead end, the phenomenon known in psychology as “functional fixedness.” The difficulty lies with the inability of the brain to make out meaningful (i.e., strategy provoking) stimuli from the mental images (or “depictive representations”) generated by strategic analysis results. We propose decreasing dependence on these tools and further research employing brain-imaging technology to explore strategy protocols with richer mental representation potential for strategy creation. [Courtesy of Rob Millard]

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