Miles and Snow Typology LO30845

From: Richard Karash (
Date: 12/17/03

I received this from Dick Blackburn at Keenan-Flagler Business School at

   -=- Rick

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 08:37:29 -0500
From: "Blackburn, Richard"
Subject: Miles and Snow Typology


Don't know how many responses you have already gotten on this question
- but I just got to the digest this morning.

On Thu, 11 Dec 2003, Kathleen Boas (CBIZ BS - St. Louis) wrote:

> How does an organization determine which one of the Typologies they
> may fit into the Miles & Snow model? Thanks for your help.

" Ray Miles and Charles Snow (1978) proposed typology of four business

Prospectors seek to innovate, take risks, seek out new opportunities and
Defenders are the opposite. They desire stability and perhaps even
retrenchment if the environment becomes too uncertain. They want to
develop internal efficiencies and produce reliable, high-quality
Analyzers try to maintain some semblance of stability in their
operations, but also want to innovate at the margins.
Reactors don't really have a strategy at all. They simply react or
respond to whatever is happening in their environment at the moment.

While the typology might be useful for categorizing where an
organization might be at present (and this can be done by assessing
your organization against these characteristics), it doesn't provide
much assistance in helping the organization determine 1) if they have
the correct strategy given the nature of their environment; or 2) if
they have chosen the correct strategy, then have they chosen the
appropriate structure with which to implement their strategy.

To a large extent this typology has been superseded by Porter's
typology of low-cost leadership v. differentiation.

The full cite for the Miles and Snow book Organizational Strategy,
Structure, and Process (New York: McGraw- Hill, 1978.


Dick Blackburn
Associate Professor
Kenan-Flagler Business School
4613 McColl Building, CB #3490
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
Phone: 919-962-3162
Fax: 919-962-4266


Richard Karash <>

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