How would you use the Miles and Snow typology theory to advise Activision Blizzard on the best way to maintain its leadership in video-game market?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miles and Snow explain in their book Organization Strategy, Structure, and Process, that all organizations and companies have a tendency to adapt their strategies depending on the trends of the market. However, they all do it from different points of view because there are four main types of organizations:

  • Defenders
  • Prospectors
  • Analyzers
  • Reactors

The defenders are organizations with a long history of steadiness and whose credibility in the market is stable enough for them to focus their expenditures in cost leadership. They have set standards, rulebooks, and no need to become risky nor shift their vision. Like the word entails, they are protecting what has already been achieved. AB cannot fall under a defender category because it is a high-tech company tending to the increasingly changing technologies, skills, and tastes of consumers. Moreover, the typical consumer of AB products is highly influenced by other consumers because the products are often shared with players. Hence, the new advent of new gaming products calls for AB to keep looking around for changing trends and never fall on a comfort zone.

Activision Blizzard falls under the "prospectors" and "analysts." Always seeking for changes and new things, prospectors take risks because the products/services that they represent are ever-changing. They should keep the prospector-style of business which is to have a small but reliable staff, to never anchor themselves on one thing (become decentralized), and to consistently perform market research.

What AB can do is perhaps morph into an analytical organization as they acquire more control of the market trends. Analytical organizations are a combination between defenders and prospectors only that they are more technical when it comes to market trends. They seek to maintain low production costs, which AB already does, and they also use data to beat their highest competitors. Perhaps AB has already moved into the analytical type as of 2012, when it beat its main competitor, Electronic Arts (EA), out of the market by a landslide.

Reactor organizations operate on the spot. They are not quite structured and they are dependent on trends to which they, as the name implies, react. AB has moved way beyond this point. Maybe it the beginning AB was a reactor organization given that they were dealing with a relatively new (developing) technology which had yet to test itself in the market. However, the aspect of trending should never be lost in any organization.