Research Insights 5.1 The Strategy Concept: Five Ps for Strategy

Marketing Strategy

Source: Mintzberg, H. (1987), ‘The strategy concept: Five Ps for strategy’, California Management Review, 30, 1, 11–26.

Abstract: Strategy requires multiple definitions to fully appreciate its implications. Accordingly, this article proposes five definitions—strategy as plan, ploy, pattern, position, and perspective—and analyzes how these definitions interrelate.


Mintzberg’s seminal paper made an important contribution to how we understand the concept of strategy because it argued that strategy should not simply be regarded as a linear sequential planning process. He explained that strategy can also be interpreted as a plan (what the organization intends to do), a ploy (how an organization seeks to wrong-foot its competitors), pattern (how it responds to market, environment, and competitor stimuli), perspective (how the organization sees itself and how it wants customers to see it), and position (how the organization manages its resources to appeal to its customers vis-à-vis the competition).