Organizations change and organizations compete for the same resources, competencies, and customers. These are the cruel realities of management that cannot be neglected. This also means that the notion of strategy and strategic management cannot be neglected as an integral part of what managers do. Strategy is about affecting the overall activities of an organization in ways to make the organization a winner. Strategy is about survival in fierce competition, and this book is about strategy.
In this section, I investigate the notion of strategy and strategic management. I also discuss some of the challenges, whether internal or external to the organization, that push the limits of strategy. Finally, I define the key concepts for this book and describe the rest of the book for the reader.
What does strategy mean? This is a difficult question to answer, as the notion of strategy is used in so many contexts these days that strategy seems to mean everything. When this happens, I for one always wonder whether strategy then means anything at all. Taking a quick look at the applications of the word strategy reveals that it has become one of those words that has even made it into our everyday language. Today, people can claim to have a strategy for getting a job or a date! More seriously, strategy can apply to the firm as a whole (corporate strategy), to parts of the firm (as in R&D strategy), and even to specific, cross-functional or not, activities within the firm (e.g., quality strategy,