Strategic management thinking and practice in the public sector: A strategic planning for all seasons?


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Financial Accountability and Management;



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This paper explores how strategic management thinking manifests itself in strategic management practice in the public sector. Mintzberg’s framework of 10 strategic management schools of thought is chosen for mapping strategic management thinking. The paper analyses a convenience sample of 35 strategic management processes, observation of an agency’s strategy reformulation process and interviews of managers in the public sector in Norway for informing the discussion. Strategic planning is heavily criticized in some of the business strategy literature. The analysis indicates that strategic management in the public sector extensively uses strategic planning, bundled with certain other schools of thought, despite tendencies to downplay formal, mechanistic planning in contemporary strategic management theory.



This is a postprint of an article published in Johnsen, Å. (2014). Strategic Management Thinking and Practice in the Public Sector: A Strategic Planning for All Seasons?. Forthcoming in Financial Accountability and Management.

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