Academic journal article International Journal of Business

Advances and Challenges in Strategic Management

Academic journal article International Journal of Business

Advances and Challenges in Strategic Management

Article excerpt


The field of business policy/strategic management has offered a variety of frameworks and concepts during the last half century, many aimed at "taking business and its management seriously." Research conferences and resulting books and journals have provided intellectual momentum, augmented by stimulation from challenges to "conventional wisdom" experienced in the global market. Almost two decades ago, a committee of faculty from several universities critically evaluated the state of doctoral education for strategic management (Summer et al., 1990). They made a number of suggestions to improve strategic management education and research, upon which this special issue of the International Journal of Business seeks to build.

The committee chaired by Charles Summer developed a series of recommendations for research on organizations as such. Among these were extended longitudinal studies of organizations, statistical analysis of organizational behavior and performance, and the refinement of organizational performance indices. Many of the authors cited here heeded the committee's suggestions but found it necessary to expand on them due to evolving realities of "transitional economies," advancing technologies, and environmental considerations. These factors have created new research and entrepreneurial challenges in the field of strategic management.

Scholars are confronted by issues such as government supported firms, social and economic effects of climate change, nanotechnology, internet-based piracy, shifting societal values and disruption of business by terrorism. Associated with changing problems of commerce is a need to develop more comprehensive and realistic measures of organizational performance. While some researchers have made progress in measuring risk-adjusted "real" returns to shareholders, others are focused on returns to a variety of stakeholders and are developing broader performance criteria. For example, some firms are progressing toward reducing their "ecological footprints," and others have an aim of becoming "carbon neutral." They are attempting to satisfy stakeholders who wish to minimize an "intergenerational conflict" if the current generation of adults were to leave their children a "greenhouse gas legacy" that would be very costly to remedy (Grant, 2006; Holdren, 2006; Stead and Stead, 2004).

As consequences of corporate activity for the broader society become increasingly understood, researchers are quantifying key constructs and analyzing them in ways which take us closer to valid measures of comprehensive strategic performance. This article provides information for those seeking to improve strategic performance while accounting for impacts upon multiple levels and sectors of society.

JEL Classification: A13, C53, D62, D81, D83, E26, F01, K32, Q54, Q56.

Keywords: Strategic management; Social values; Forecasting; Externalities; Decision making; Search; Informal economy; Global environment, climate, sustainability


As general managers seek guidance regarding the overall direction and operation of their organizations and as researchers seek organizing concepts for their work, various strategic management frameworks have become common bases for guiding work, particularly in market-based economies.

The global dynamics within which strategic management work takes place create great challenges for both researchers and practitioners. Major governmental restructurings in parts of the world during the last two decades have altered both constraints and stimuli impacting companies large and small. Technological advances have dramatically accelerated communications processes, but recent terrorist attacks have increased security concerns and slowed air transportation in many places. In addition, internet-based commerce supports buying and logistical operations over most of the globe.

Against the backdrop of such changes, the risk-taking behavior of many senior executives has led to substantial profits for some and dramatic losses for others. …

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