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The Strategy BridgeTheory for Practice$
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Colin S. Gray

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579662.001.0001

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The Theory of Strategy, I: Enduring Nature, Changing Character

The Theory of Strategy, I: Enduring Nature, Changing Character

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 The Theory of Strategy, I: Enduring Nature, Changing Character
Source:
The Strategy Bridge
Author(s):

Colin S. Gray (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579662.003.0002

The strategist is armed with a set of nine basic questions, the historically specific answer to which enables him to do his job. Probably his three most important questions are (a) what is it about? (b) so what? and (c) what are the alternatives and what are their costs/benefits? There is only one general theory of strategy, even though there can be any number of strategies unique to historical circumstances. Definitions matter if we are to understand what it is we are talking about. The language of strategy, including the word itself, has altered over the centuries (and from one language to another), but the function of strategy has been constant (purposefully connecting ends, ways, and means). The general theory of strategy explains the structure and working of the whole field of strategy, including the contexts that enable it and provide its purposes. The theory can be understood as comprising twenty dicta, the most important of which, summarized naked by subject, pertain to the bridging function; political instrumentality; force in grand strategy; controlling the enemy; deception and paradox; people; contexts; its permanent nature, but changing character.

Keywords:   strategy, context, dicta, general theory

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