Strategic, instrumental and control actions – Concept

We explain what strategic, instrumental and control actions are in a technique, their functions and differences.

Strategic, instrumental and control actions
The strategic, instrumental and control actions make up a technique.

What are strategic, instrumental and control actions?

When we talk about strategic, instrumental and control actions, we are referring to the different elements that make up any technique, that is, the types of steps we need to take to solve a given problem. These steps are always present in sequence, and are critical to understanding how technical systems operate.

Let’s start by remembering that a technique is a set of procedures, steps, actions and rules that make up a set way of solving a problem or meeting a set goal.

It is a fundamental concept in human history, which can be applied to all kinds of fields: sports, artistic, educational or construction, for example. Together with scientific knowledge, it has given us technology: scientific knowledge about techniques.

Thus, no matter what type of techniques we are referring to: dance techniques, wall painting techniques, carpentry techniques or techniques for baking a cake, in all of them three types of fundamental steps or actions will be unequivocally given, which are:

  • Strategic actions. They are those that focus on planning and prior organization, that is, on the design of the way forward and decision-making. This is an analytical stage, in which it is determined what exactly we are going to do and how.
  • Instrumental Actions. They are those that allow the collection and organization of the materials and tools necessary to implement the strategy already designed, taking into account their availability, but also efficiency and productivity criteria.
  • Control actions. They are those that allow to verify that things are going according to the established plan, that is, that allow feedback to the system, take a look at performance, quality, quantity or whatever is necessary so that the results obtained are close to those desired.

For example, if we want to bake a cake, we will surely look for a recipe, which is nothing more than the description of the steps of a technique. In choosing the recipe and reading its steps, we are already carrying out a strategic action; while when gathering the ingredients and bringing them to the necessary term (breaking and beating the eggs, oil and flour the mold, etc.) we are applying instrumental actions.

Finally, when we make the cake and go back to review the recipe to verify that we have not made a mistake, and later we test the cake to verify that it tastes as it should, we will be carrying out control actions.