Over a period of some 30 years, we have seen the concept of strategy evolve. Aaker (1995) provides a historical perspective showing how this evolution has progressed and acknowledges that strategic activity has been described over the years as:

● Budgeting: Early strategic activity was concerned with budgetary and control mechanisms. Structured methods of allocating, monitoring and investigating variances from budget provided a means of managing complex processes

● Long-range planning: Here greater emphasis was placed on forecasting. Planning systems and processes tended to extrapolate current trends (with varying degrees of sophistication) and predict factors such as sales, profits and cost. Management could use such forecasts as a basis for decision making

● Strategic planning: In the  era of strategic planning, great  emphasis is placed on: (i) specifying the overall direction and (ii) centralised control of planning activities. While still based around forecasting and extrapolation of past trends, far greater attention is  paid to understanding the business environment.

● Strategic management: We are currently in the age of strategic management. Strategic management concerns both the formulation of strategy and how such strategy is put into practice. While still undertaking analysis and forecasting, far greater prominence is placed on implementation. The concern is with managing change and transforming the organisation within an increasingly turbulent business environment.