Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Growth and Consolidation of Strategic Management Research: Insights for the Future Development of Strategic Management

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Growth and Consolidation of Strategic Management Research: Insights for the Future Development of Strategic Management

Article excerpt


The strategic management as an academic discipline began to take shape in the early years of the 1960s and early authors such as Anshen et al. (1973) and Meyer (1978) noted the need to direct research efforts to shape the theoretical corpus of strategic management. In May 1977, Professors Dan Schendel and Charles Hofer run at the University of Pittsburg a conference entitled 'The State of the Art Business Policy and Planning Research" which represented an important milestone in the consolidation of strategic management as an emergent academic field (Saunders et al, 1980).

Schendel and Hofer (1979) recommended the segmentation of strategic management in research lines, which was fundamental to foster research on these topics: strategy concept, strategy formulation, strategy evaluation, strategy content, goal formulation/structures, social responsibility, environmental analysis, public policy, strategy implementation, formal planning systems, strategic control, strategic management process, board of directors, general management roles, entrepreneurship and new ventures, multibusiness/multicultural firms, strategic management in not-for-profit organizations, and research methods. Then, the Strategic Management Journal appeared in 1980 and quickly became the flagship of the scientific community in this area (Guerras-Martin et al, 2013). The growth of scientific production and the increased number of international journals on strategic management fostered the consolidation of the research lines and also led to the emergence of diverse additional lines of research such as competitive advantage and resource based view of the firm among others. The initial efforts gave birth to the current structure and defined the internal dynamics of the strategic management field.

Many efforts have been devoted to trace the evolution of the discipline in order to contribute to its future development. For example, Ramos-Rodriguez and Ruiz-Navarro (2004) determined the changes in the intellectual structure of the discipline by analyzing co-citations. Later on, Nerur et al. (2008) employing of co-citations with multidimensional scaling and factor analysis expanded the results obtained. They employed publications and authors as the units of analysis. Both works are attempts to define the intellectual structure of the strategic management field using quantitative methods under the assumption that papers or authors who are frequently co-cited are somehow intellectually related. These works present interesting insights of the discipline and contributed to know how strategic management has developed between 1980 and early 2000s as well as defining distinct subfields and their relationships through the citations. However, the results do not address the consistency and interconnectedness between the lines of research that form the theoretical basis for the strategic management field and how advanced is each research line.

Other authors, e.g. Boyd et al. (2005), analyzed the development of the field of strategic management in the first 25 years of life. Interestingly, the authors found that many strategy faculty members never publish in their career and article writing activity, as well as success, may be determined by the orientation and prestige of the institution where faculty is based. Moreover, they found that strategic management has characteristics of a young and advanced discipline simultaneously due to weak consensus and low productivity but the research outcomes are based on merit, respectively. However, the conclusions provided are general and not focused on the lines that conform the discipline, which have different levels of maturity.

Therefore, there is a need to take stock of the development of the research lines that conform the strategic management field nowadays if we want to offer interpretation, evaluation, and challenges to existing areas of strategic management research. This paper will not only reflect the current state of the field but also have the potential to stimulate and guide future research efforts by illuminating and offering insight into the core strategy concepts and theoretical streams. …

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