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What Is the Prescriptive Approach to Strategic Management?

Updated March 23, 2017

Strategic management is a technique used by businesses that develops goals and objectives and determines the steps needed to achieve them. The prescriptive approach of strategic management develops objectives in advance and determines the main elements of the goal before beginning the process.

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Strategic management contains two main approaches: the emergent approach and the prescriptive approach. These approaches share common elements, but lead to different models of planning. The emergent approach does not contain a clear final goal, but rather believes that the final goal evolves through the processes and steps determined.


The prescriptive approach to strategic management has downfalls. The biggest problem is that a clear final objective is set and does not consider that unexpected changes may occur which can change the entire process, resulting in a different final outcome. Companies implementing a prescriptive approach often hesitate to divert from it even if other options are more beneficial.


The SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, is a common model used in the prespective approach. This model uses internal and external analyses when determining the strategic plans of the company. This model helps companies determine how likely the strategy will actually work.

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About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.

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