Conquering New Markets Through Military Strategy: How the LEGO Company Will Conquer the Middle Kingdom

Marie Elver Windekilde

Student thesis: Master thesis


It is said that in war, one must consider three things: the situation, the opponent and the terrain. For centuries then, generals have incorporated thorough analysis of the battle space with swift actions during the fog of war (Clausewitz, 1993). This paper thus seeks to discover how military strategic paradigms can be used to formulate a new eclectic framework that informs strategy formulation in international business. This is done by exploring a military paradigm as presented in NATO´s ‘Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive’ (COPD, 2010). The paradigm is used across the international military society, and the framework therefore arguably represents one of the most tested and modern approaches within the field. It provides a framework that based on a systemic approach to analysis and an effects-based approach to operations supports decision-makers to analyse strategic challenges and formulate appropriate causes of action within the frames of the competitive terrain. The military paradigm is further supported with concepts from central business theories in order to assist the eclectic framework´s applicability to international business strategies. Furthermore, the formulated framework is tested and illustrated by the case of the Danish LEGO Company´s strategy in China. The eclectic framework provides several contributions. First of all, it presents a generalizable framework that suggests guidance for strategic courses of action, making the formulation of the framework of general value. Secondly, it explicitly considers and integrates the competitors’ strategic intent and capabilities, which it incorporates accordingly in strategy formulation. The papers biggest contribution is, however, that the formulated eclectic framework effectively incorporates strategy as a designed, planned and logical procedure, with strategy as an emerging and learning activity. In this way, the eclectic framework can be of general use for strategy formulation in international business.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages85
SupervisorsNicolai Pogrebnyakov