Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

Strategic Management: A Perspective on the Development of the Field of Strategic Management and the Contribution of the Irish Journal of Management

Academic journal article Irish Journal of Management

Strategic Management: A Perspective on the Development of the Field of Strategic Management and the Contribution of the Irish Journal of Management

Article excerpt

It is extremely timely that the Irish Journal of Management (IJM), in seeking a series of retrospectives on the development of the field of management, should request a review of the strategic management field. In many ways, the histories of the journal and the field of strategy, as we know it, have evolved from similar birthdates. The forerunner of the I JM, IBAR, (Irish Business and Administrative Research) was first published in 1979, whilst two years earlier a conference was held at the University of Pittsburgh with the purpose of delineating a research agenda for the field of strategy. Both initiatives were about providing a forum and showcase for academic work that was previously relatively obscure.

The results and proceedings of the Pittsburgh conference were published in the seminal book, Strategic Management: A New View of Business Policy (Schendel and Hofer, 1980). This book served as a foundation document for research in the field, clearly demarcating a transition point between a view of strategy as serving primarily a teaching purpose, with faculty in the area delivering capstone courses such as Business Policy, to a research field with its own unique research questions, methods and agenda (Nag et al., 2007). Simultaneously, the other great impetus to the strategy field was the publication of Michael Porter's (1980) book, Competitive Strategy, which crystallised the insights developed through a long tradition of industrial organisation economics into Introduction

frameworks for industry analysis, competitive intelligence and firm positioning. These foundations have produced very significant outcomes and by many measures, the field of strategic management has blossomed, boasting the second largest membership amongst interest groups in the Academy of Management (Hitt et al., 2004). Given this base, it is also the interest group with the largest number of submissions to the Annual Academy of Management Conference. The discipline's prime journal, Strategic Management Journal, (launched in 1980) has established itself as one of the premier journals in the management field (Wiseman and Skilton, 1999).

From the beginning, Schendel and Hofer (1980) were conscious of establishing a paradigm framing a basic research programme for strategy, to ensure scientific progress and legitimise strategic management in the broader field of management research. Research needed to capture '...a new concept of the general manager's role and responsibilities is developing, a concept we shall call strategic management' (p. 1).1 The major components of the research programme were to 'place entrepreneurial choice at the centre of the managerial universe...' (p. 6), and supplementing that with the primary concepts of strategic management as encompassing six major tasks, (1) goal formation, (2) environmental analysis, (3) strategy formulation, (4) strategy evaluation, (5) strategy implementation and (6) strategy control. In addition to facilitating communication and accumulation of findings, establishing a paradigm for strategic management would help to organise the research processes within the field and a period of normal science, characterised by broad consensus on major questions and approaches, would follow.

This paper reviews the development of the field since those early days, but does so in the light of assessing how 'normal science' within the strategic management paradigm has developed since the foundations were laid by Schendel and Hofer. Reflecting the simultaneous history of the UM (and IBAR) and its facilitation of the dissemination of strategy research, this paper also reviews the development trajectory of strategy research published in the IJM over the past 30 years. We further consider the degree of integration between the themes and categories addressed in IJM and those addressed by the pre-eminent SMS award winning papers published in SMJ over this broadly overlapping timeframe. Our study shows how the conceptual breakthroughs of the exemplary papers are further developed by the field through theory testing and extension using increasingly sophisticated methodologies published by journals such as IJM. …

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