Structuralist vs. Reconstructionist an Introduction by Andrew Isherwood

Kim & Mauborgne (2009)1 coined the phrases Reconstructionist and Structuralist meaning: A Structuralist believes that a strategy should be structured around an existing environment whereas a Reconstructionist believes that the...

Kim & Mauborgne (2009)1 coined the phrases Reconstructionist and Structuralist meaning:

A Structuralist believes that a strategy should be structured around an existing environment whereas a Reconstructionist believes that the environment needs to be re-constructed around a new strategic move. Their Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim & Mauborgne 20052 sits firmly in the Reconstructionist camp, and can be considered to be in favour of a First Mover Advantage as they propose to create strategy for uncontested market spaces. Porter’s 5-Forces and generic competitive strategies would be considered Structuralist as they are not advocating creating a new market, rather describing an existing one and how to compete in it.

There are three main areas of theory which are most relevant to the Structuralist & Reconstructionist debate:

First there is the debate between using a generic or a hybrid strategy, followed by the Disruptive Technology / Innovation debate and finally the highly miss-understood and complex issues of First Mover Advantage

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  1. Kim W.C. & Mauborgne R. (2009), “How strategy shapes structure”, Harvard Business Review (USA), September 2009, Vol. 87 No. 9, pp. 72-81 []
  2. Kim W.C. & Mauborgne R. (2005), “Blue Ocean Strategy”, Harvard Business School ( Book Review ) []

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