A3 Book section, chapters in research books

Teaching the history of strategic management

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Maijanen Päivi
Editors of book: Baumann, Sabine
Edition name or number: 1st Edition
Publishing place: Cheltenham, UK
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Title of parent publication: Teaching Strategic Management: A Hands-on Guide to Teaching Success
ISBN: 9781788978354
eISBN: 9781788978361
JUFO-Level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Open Access publication
Location of the parallel saved publication: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2020081048277



When learning about strategic management, it is not only important to
study the main concepts and theories but also their historical
evolution. The historical perspective provides us with an in-depth
understanding of what strategic management is all about. Importantly,
learning about the history is not only learning about the theoretical
developments and trajectories but also about changes in the business
environment. Addressing these changes and new phenomena has forced and
inspired scholars to refine the old concepts and theories or create new
ones. We can say that the evolution has taken place in two ways: through
accumulation of scientific knowledge and through empirical inputs from
the changing business environment. Learning a history of a discipline of
any kind may sound boring and irrelevant, but in fact it can be seen as
an exciting journey to study how the theory and practice have coevolved
and intertwined; how new phenomena and questions arise and how this
evolutionary process deepens our knowledge and understanding.
It is worth noting that the history of the actual independent discipline
of strategic management is fairly young. The early history goes back to
the 1970s. Its main professional forum, the Strategic Management
Society (SMS), was not established until the year 1981. Naturally, the
field has long roots in the earlier developments of military and later
business strategy that finally led to the situation where the scholars
of strategic management saw the need for creating a more solid
foundation for the field. From the very beginning, the core question of
strategic management has been why some firms are more successful than
others and how firms can sustain their competitive advantage. What can
be more relevant questions for business! Learning about the strategic
management and its history provides us with a profound understanding of
these highly important questions of every single entrepreneur.
Through its core question, strategic management research expresses its
practical relevance and a close link with the changes taking place in
the global business environment. The question has not become less
relevant during the past decades. Quite the opposite. Since the
establishment of the SMS in 1981, the business environment has gone
through enormous changes, such as the rise of networks instead of
conglomerates, keen competition based on globalization, and the
digitalization-based rise of the platform ecosystems, to name a few.
These all have disrupted and challenged established industries and
companies’ competitive advantage and made them ask the question how to
sustain it.
From the practical perspective, the importance of strategic management
is to be motivated by its ability to answer everyday problems faced by
companies. In a way, strategic management offers us a checklist to look
at when trying to understand, for instance, why some companies in the
industry outperform the others and why some formerly strong companies
rapidly lose their leading position (e.g. Nokia vs. Apple). The answers
given by strategy research help also understand more “local” problems.
If you have to give answers why some of your neighborhood restaurants or
corner shops succeed or fail, just start to look at their competitive
position following the guidelines of Porter. Or, if you would like to
start a company of your own and you are asking which kind of resources
you should have to be successful, have a look at the so-called VRIN
(valuable, rare, inimitable, non-substitutable) attributes offered to
you by the resource-based view. If your company or the company you are
consulting is losing its competitive advantage due to rapid changes in
the business environment then it is advisable to look at the checklist
given by the dynamic capability view. Briefly, knowing the basic ideas
of strategic management and its evolution helps you understand the
business world much more than just analyzing it from the more specific
perspectives of, let us say, economics, finance, accounting or
marketing. Strategic management puts those complicated things together
by asking how to achieve and sustain competitive advantage.
This chapter is organized as follows. After the introduction, the course
design for teaching the history of strategic management is briefly
presented followed by the main theoretical outlines of strategic
management. The overview of the history is followed by suggestions for
course assignments.

Last updated on 2020-31-08 at 13:34