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What Is Strategic Orientation?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Strategic orientation is an indication of the direction in which a business wants to or should go in the future, and how well it is set up to do so. There are two major components to this idea, the first of which is the sense that a business has a plan for future development. In addition to this, a business can gauge how well it is currently moving along that path. These two components together establish the strategic orientation for that company, as someone can analyze this strategy for future change or growth in comparison with the actual procedures executed.

The idea of “strategic orientation” can be slightly complex, but only because it is something of a secondary consideration beyond simply having a strategy. In order for the leaders of a company to be able to consider their strategic orientation, they first have to have some type of plan or policy in place. This means that a company should establish a goal or vision for future development and create a course of action to achieve it. That plan is the strategy for the company, indicating the types of procedures or changes that need to take place for the goal to be accomplished.

Once this plan is created, which can be done in a number of different ways, then a company can evaluate the strategic orientation that it has. The word “orientation” in this sense indicates how well the company is following this strategy to meet its goals for the future. This is similar to the way in which a person hiking through the wilderness might use a compass to determine his or her orientation with respect to the direction he or she needs to be going. A company can use various metrics and both internal and external analysis to establish its strategic orientation and determine if it is moving in the right direction.

A range of methods can be used to gauge and evaluate the strategic orientation of a company, though they typically rely upon analyzing how important “strategy” is to the company. A business that creates a strategic plan for future growth, but then ignores it for the next three business quarters, may not be strategically well-oriented. In contrast, a company that creates such a plan, discusses it regularly throughout the business year, and uses it as a guide for ongoing development demonstrates substantially better strategic orientation. This can be difficult, however, as it typically requires cooperation and organization among different departments and by various managers and team leaders within a company.

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Discussion Comments

By stoneMason — On Mar 23, 2013

I want to know, does politics factor into companies' strategic orientations at all?

I know that many companies today also have lobby groups. Does this mean anything for their strategy?

By donasmrs — On Mar 23, 2013

@fify-- I don't quite agree. Any company that's aware of economics will know that as a company grows, it will become more and more expensive to run it. What this means is lower profits over the long term.

So the strategic orientation of company cannot just be to keep growing. Companies also have to think about making smart decisions, forming alliances, entering new markets and even shifting methods of production. It's much more complex than we realize. Everything has to be well thought out.

It's also smart to have more than one plan and strategy available. If things go wrong with one strategy, the company should be able to shift their orientation fairly easily to minimize risks and losses.

By fify — On Mar 22, 2013

I think deciding on a strategic orientation for a company that is doing well is fairly straightforward. If the company is making profit, the strategy will be to grow, to increase investment and production.

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