Professor, Coordinator of the MESPOM Consortium
SEA and strategy formation theories: from three Ps to five Ps
Summary, in English
strategic—change. Much of the promise of SEA is associated precisely with its perceived capacity to facilitate
such a strategic transformation by influencing selected ‘strategic decisions’. This paper examines the potential
effectiveness and limitations of such an approach in light of contemporary organizational strategy theories. Most
of these theories separate ‘strategies’ from ‘decisions’ and also transcend the notion of strategies as formal plans,
policies and programs (PPPs). Instead, they consider strategies as “five Ps”, adding “Position”, “Perspective”,
“Pattern” and “Ploy” to the “Plan”. Lessons from organizational strategy formation give rise to the following
challenges for SEA theory and practice:
1. How to assess and influence informal as well as formal aspects of strategic initiatives?
2. How to extend SEA ‘beyond decisions’ to address ‘emergent strategies’ where strategic action is not
necessarily preceded by a decision?
3. How to ensure that knowledge provided as a result of SEA is strategically relevant and communicated to
key players in strategy formation?
4. How to deal with an uncontrollable and unpredictable environment in which strategic initiatives unfold?
5. How to recognize those situations when SEA can have most strategic influence?
This paper takes a step towards examining these challenges by exploring the intellectual history of SEA
in light of the main strategy formation theories and by identifying directions in which the SEA discourse
may be further enhanced to meet these five challenges.
- The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Environmental Impact Assessment Review
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- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
- Strategic initiatives
- Strategy formation theories
- Emergent strategy
- Environmental Assessment
- Strategic Environmental Assessment
- System for Environmental and Agricultural Modelling; Linking European Science and Society
- ISSN: 0195-9255