Mastering Strategic Management
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461351-4-8
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks. read more
The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks.
The content is accurate, though there are a few typos.
The examples are a few years old and need to be updated.
The book is very lucidly written. I think it is one of the best written textbooks.
The book is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The text is easy to follow.
The topics are organized well and easy to follow.
I didn't encounter any problem with navigation.
I did not detect any grammar errors, although I did find a few typos.
The book is culturally relevant.
Please update the examples and correct the few typos in the text.
Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a read more
Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a commercial book that I have used in the past. I looked at 43 topics that is a union of the content I would use across the two books. The commercial book covered 41 topics, and Mastering Strategic Management ("MSM") covered 39. Of the discrepancies, three topics in the commercial book and one topic in MSM were topics that were probably timely when written but are less relevant now. Excluding those, each book had one topic that I would have liked to have seen in the other.
Across a number of topics, the exposition that fit my expectations about the material covered, explanations of the material, and examples that fit the material. Strategy covers a number of models that have been around for some time, and the authors seemed to do a good job of thinking about which models are reasonable to describe as they were conceived and which ones should be adjusted a bit to better reflect the underlying mechanisms or modern circumstances. One small exception (shared in most strategy books) is the description of the BCG matrix using market share (as originally conceived). That notion is very sensitive to specification of markets, and I've seen more helpful formulations that describe it a little more generally as having dimensions that reflect using and generating cash.
The main content is fine and highly relevant. However, there are some examples which have not aged well. This is not so much the fault of the authors, as the business-relevant content is fine, but an example using Jared from Subway reads very differently in light of subsequent revelations. That is perhaps the most glaring, but there are a few others that have not aged well (e.g., the AppleTV has become reasonably successful in subsequent iterations). That said, this book is well within the norms of example relevance over time.
The book is written directly and clearly. In terms of style, it is more approachable than some alternatives, in part because I never got the sense that the authors were lowering the information density to produce more text.
Terminology and approach are generally consistent. Strategy is at the intersection of other disciplines, so there is often a change of perspective, but that comes with the content. That said, the authors have combined those well into a logical, consistent narrative.
For the most part, this book would be easy to use out of order or as selections. The chapters have numbered subdivisions that are logically coherent, and, in my view, it would be clear to students to assign selections. My initial read suggests that the brief motivating examples to begin chapters and the conclusions of chapters would be helpful to include even if the middle sections are selected from or reordered.
Overall, the organization and flow are consistent and logical, and it generally mirrors that of most strategy books. In a couple of places, the ordering is a bit different (e.g., international strategy before corporate-level strategy), but the broader logic may actually be more linear that way.
I used the epub 3 version of the book. The table elements tended to be built with markup instead of images, so they rendered nicely on a high-resolution display. Cross references were often done with links, and many text boxes were also done with markup, so the book takes advantage of the technology it uses for distribution. Given the prevalence of mobile devices among students, this is a strong positive for this book compared to others.
The writing is clear, error-free, and straightforward, including the consistent use of active voice.
Though the book (like many strategy and business textbooks) has a somewhat US-centric presentation, there are plenty of examples that include diversity along a number of dimensions where that kind of diversity is not the topic of the example. That broad level of inclusiveness is a positive for the book.
Overall, I found the book to be consistently high in quality, coverage, and consistency with other books in this area. Using it as an alternative or replacement for other books should be straightforward. The anonymous authors have done the field and our students a real service in writing this book.
The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook. read more
The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook.
The material covered in the textbook is accurate and error-free.
Th material is up-to-date, however, some of the examples in the book could quickly become outdated. For example, there is an example referencing a 2001 movie which students may not understand. The book could easily be updated to keep examples up-to-date.
The book is clearly written without unnecessary jargon. Definitions for key terms could be emphasized to help students identify key terms and concepts. Additionally a glossary would be beneficial for students to quickly reverence the definition of key terms.
The book is consistent with other texts on the topic of strategic management.
The book is modular and chapters could be reorganized without issue. Instructors could assign chapters or subsections as they see fit without loss of educational value.
The book flowed well, the only change I would make is to move the corporate-level strategies to follow the business-level strategies. The instructor could easily make this change when assigning chapters in the textbook.
I did not encounter any issues with the interface of the textbook. The location of charts and images were appropriate and supported the material.
The book was free of grammatical errors.
The text was not insensitive or offensive.
Supporting material such as glossary, online assignments or self check exercises could be included. Overall, the book is well thought out and easily adaptable for instructors to use.
The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on read more
The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on contents and the interactive PDF version is an excellent way to navigate the text. Electronic versions are searchable, obviating the need for an index.
I didn't find any inaccuracies or biases in the text (although I ran into a few minor typos). Each concept follows a critical discussion inviting the reader to reflect on the topic, rather than being dogmatic.
The topics covered are well established Strategic Management ideas with direct application in actual business practice, making the content both relevant and time enduring.
The book is clearly written and enjoyable. It provides straight commentary on the ideas discussed and is very easy to read. A minor drawback is that it lacks memorable design around many of the classic frameworks. For example, when discussing the diamond model in chapter 7, its elements are defined in the form of a table--rather than in a diamond shape.
The narrative is consistent throughout both in depth and style.
While the content follows a logical path, chapters are concise and mostly stand-alone, making it easy to use individual chapters or to tailor content for a class.
The topics follow a standard order of ideas in a consistent and logical flow, while maintaining modularity.
The interactive PDF version is clean and easy to use. A comprehensive table of contents is always available without being intrusive and the book is fully searchable. Making it convenient for student research or review. A keyword search results in a list of references to different chapters in the book, with a short summary of the content discussed.
Other than a few minor spelling typos. I found no errors.
The nature of the book is mostly transparent to cultural issues. Examples are business focused and do reflect a wide world view.
It is a great introductory text to Strategic Management. It covers all the standard material in a concise, easily accessible way. I would have enjoyed a bit more quantitative material, such as basic formulas from economics or discussions about how to quantify market competitiveness for example. Perhaps, that´s the material for a second book….
Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the read more
Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the environment, leading strategically, selection of business level strategies, ethics, organization design, and more. However, it does not have a separate chapter about small business strategy.
This book is accurate as evidenced by the frequent references from both research journals and practitioners' publications. There is little in the way of the author's opinions, rather facts are emphasized.
The relevance of the book is excellent in that historical examples are often used, which by definition will not need to be updated. The examples of recent strategy uses (e.g. a goal by Coca-Cola on page 40 is for 2012) are in need of only slight modifications.
This is the paramount strength of the book. When the vocabulary (i.e. jargon) of strategic management is used, facile explanations and examples are used to clarify the term. An example is Figure 2.5, which explains financial performance measures for students who did not major in finance or accounting.
What is admirable as to the book's consistency is it's sequence of chapters, such as starting with "Mastering Strategy" as chapter one, through "Selecting Business Level Strategies" in the middle of the text, and concluding with corporate governance and ethics. There is also consistency in terms of the key takeaways and exercises throughout the book.
This is another strength of the book. For example, in clarifying "Entrepreneurial Orientation" sections such as "Autonomy", "Competitive Aggressiveness", and "Innovativeness" are presented in small sections that in total describe the term. This is done consistently in the book, such as in chapter eight the terms vertical integration, backward vertical integration, and forward vertical integration.
The topics are presented in a deductive order, starting with a superordinate term such as "Strategies for Getting Smaller", followed by retrenchment and restructuring. By describing a construct by its dimensions, the construct is more readily understood by students.
I don't think there are any such problems.
There are not any grammatical errors. I do think the reading level is for undergraduates rather than MBA students.
The photographs and examples are varied in terms of surface characteristics.
It is superior to my present textbook in terms of being written in a conversational style, which is complemented by useful tables such as 8.7 on page 293. These tables and other graphics will assist students with a visual learning style. The only negative that comes to mind is if this textbook is to be used for a MBA course, outside readings will need to be assigned.
I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management. read more
I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management.
I found the book to be accurate and well referenced. Examples were used which were most instrumental in helping students to understand important concepts.
The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. Many of the examples used are classic or very timely. It would require little work to update concepts and examples.
The book is written without unnecessary jargon. Terms commonly used in the study of Strategy are fully explained.
The framework of the book allows for easy transitions from one topic to another. Throughout the book there is consistency in the straight forward approach to topics. There is a consistent attempt within this book to explain complex concepts in such a way as to allow undergraduate students to master them easily.
The text is well divided into a logical sequence of intuitively developed reading sections. Sections within the book serve to reduce confusion which can occur when learning a subject area with the diversity and complexity of Business Strategy
I like the flow of the text but prefer a flow which started by simply following the strategic management process step by step.
I had no issues with the interface of the textbook. Navigation was simple and charts were well placed and clear.
I found no grammatical errors i the text.
Culturally the book was sensitive in dealing with issues such as ethics and the role of diversity in the workplace.
With the current push for on-line offerings I feel that it is now imperative that offerings include test banks, power-points, on-line readings, films and perhaps simulation tools that can be used on-line. I love the book for in-class use but feels that it does not offer enough support to be viable for extensive on-line offerings,
This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, read more
This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, differentiation, and focused strategies were good. However, I found this book to be lacking in critical discussion areas, such as the importance of evaluating a firm's internal financial assets. While it mentioned current ratio, debt to equity ratio, and net income .. it does not show how to calculate those ratios. And, there are many, many more financial ratios that should be covered in great detail to effectively analyze an organization's internal financial capabilities. This was an area I would consider to be seriously lacking in content. Other critical areas missing from this textbook were the discussion of entrepreneurial strategy and competitive dynamics, as well as managing innovation and corporate entrepreneurship. Likewise, this textbook did not include any strategic management cases which greatly supports a student's ability to apply concepts to a multi-page case of an organization they may be familiar with. Also, while there was included on the website a table of contents, no such table of contents exists in the .pdf version that students would actually use. In general, this book is not written at the level of sophistication and comprehensiveness I would expect to use for college students, particularly since a strategic analysis course is often taught as a capstone course (undergraduate senior level of student). In my opinion, this textbook is written more at the senior in high school or college freshman level.
The book's accuracy is adequate, although there are many areas of strategic analysis which I would consider to be missing in this textbook.
The one area of relevance and longevity I found to be questionable was the various references to "At the Movies". Some of the movies are quite dated and students may not have even heard of them. Or, if they have heard of the movie, they may not have seen it. While the intent seems to be a creative way to illustrate basic concepts, the use of movies is not (in my opinion) the most relevant way to accomplish this, at least to the extent that this is repeated throughout the textbook.
The book is written clearly, although not at the college reading level I would expect it to be written at.
The text is inconsistent since it references certain figures that actually do not exist. For instance, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is referenced to be in figure 8.7. There is no BCG matrix figure, nor any figure 8.7. In fact, there are very few figures in the book. There are some pictures (unidentified mostly) but no figures that illustrate important concepts.
The book's modularity is done well. Within each chapter there are several smaller reading sections.
The book's organization/structure flow is generally good. I believe the organization and flow would be better if corporate-level strategies followed business-level strategy, and then the chapter about international markets would follow after that. This textbook, instead, has business-level strategy, international markets, then corporate-level strategy.
The images are generally not distorted, although on page 172 the Arby's graphic and text are out of proportion. Page 177 includes some type of graphic that is only shades of grey. I don't know what that is intended to represent.
The text contains no grammatical errors that I observed.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way that I observed.
The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key read more
The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key topics & models addressed. One exception is strategic entrepreneurship, which is not covered as a separate chapter as is often the case but is instead partially covered under "Entrepreneurial orientation" within Chapter 2, "Leading strategically". Another exception is that there is only one chapter on corporate strategy, whereas many books have a second chapter on strategy alternatives (M&A, etc.). However, some of this content has been folded into the corporate strategy chapter. The PDF I reviewed did not contain a glossary or index.
The book provides an accurate introduction to contemporary strategic management. The authors' perspective is consistent with mainstream scholarly views in the field.
Most strategy textbooks tend to gravitate towards concepts and models that have a relatively long "shelf life," and this one is no exception. The book contains current examples and timely content. The book also does a good job presenting strategy in ways that undergraduate students, in particular, will find relevant. It does this through an emphasis on familiar, everyday brands (Facebook, Redbox) and through cultural references, such as its "Strategy at the movies" segments, which link concepts in the book to recent popular films.
The book is written in clear and accessible prose, and it carries a sense of humor. At times I would have liked to see clearer definitions that were easier to find in the text (e.g., highlighted or placed in sidebars). For example, the concept of "cost leadership" is introduced with good examples, but a concise definition seems lacking. Having clear definitions on key concepts is helpful to students studying for exams and for faculty who want to check concepts for consistency across materials without re-reading entire sections.
The book is internally consistent. It provides a framework for understanding strategy that is coherent and, at the same time, generally consistent with other major texts.
The text seems modular, and reorganizing the material is unlikely to pose a problem. It would be easy to rearrange the materials within a strategy course - provided, of course, that foundational concepts (e.g., "capabilities") have been established early on, as would be required in working with any major strategy text.
The book's flow is logical and it adheres to a structure that is common in strategy texts. One slightly unusual sequencing is the presentation of international strategy before corporate strategy (the reverse is more common), but these two chapters remain adjacent and there is a reasonable case for doing this. Given the overall modularity of the book, moreover, instructors can rearrange chapters as they see fit without much difficulty.
The interface reflects the thoughtful and creative selection of accompanying visual materials, especially photos and illustrations. There are fewer charts and tables than in the average strategy text. Some instructors and MBA students might find the text easier to navigate with fewer visual interruptions overall and perhaps more data or charts included in addition to the pictures. Overall, I think this interface that would be well received by undergraduate students, in particular.
The book's grammar is fine.
The book does not appear to be culturally insensitive. Examples are drawn primarily from the U.S., as is common in many major strategy texts, but there are also many examples drawn from outside the U.S.
Overall, I think this book is a very solid and worthwhile contribution to the set of available strategy textbooks. A particular strength of the book is its accessible writing style and its selection of "user-friendly" illustrations and examples. I think the book would be especially well-suited to first-time students of strategy who seek a general introduction. I also like that the book avoids delivering long, arbitrary lists of items in presenting material (e.g., "the nine reasons firms do acquisitions"), which is a common weakness of strategy textbooks. Instead, this book is generally succinct and reasonably comprehensive. At the same time, instructors & students seeking a more advanced treatment of strategy may find coverage of some topics to be relatively light. For example, limitations of the 5 Forces model are only briefly addressed and issues of industry evolution do not seem to be addressed.
I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an read more
I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate depth for an Introduction to Business Strategy/Policy course. The backend - index, glossary, on-screen reader and search engine - were accurate and faultless.
Diagrams, tables and case studies were up-to-date, professional quality and accurate. I found the text well supported by the supplemental teaching resources (quizzes, PowerPoint’s, teaching notes, etc.) As with any USA based textbook, and to be fair hardly unique to this one, the content is USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies do tend to examine issues through the lens of USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. Within this caveat, all material was well-edited, error-free, unbiased and including appropriate supplemental instructor material.
As with most introductory courses, the basic components of Business Strategy tend not to change rapidly. New tools, techniques, occasionally fads, as well as the inevitable rebranding (i.e. Management by Objectives [MBO] becomes Outcome Based Key Performance Indicators) are adopted by Business relatively slowly. The textbook covers certain recent advances in strategic and policy, as appropriate for a textbook at an introductory level. Looking forward, advances to this textbook would tend to focus on maintaining current and timeliness of in-text examples, update trends and data, and incorporate emergent strategies which could emerge in response to changing economic, business or global events, such as a global recession.
The textbook to be quite readable and engaging, and makes good use of current business examples. Terms and business jargon are properly defined, both within the text and by using small ‘call-out’ (?) boxes on the side of pages and through the use of examples.
The concepts and ideas in the textbook are presented in a clear and logical order. Terminology is used consistently. As well, I found the ‘readability’ of the textbook to be internally consistent – with no sense that different authors/editors had writte
The material is covered in 12 chapters, with 2 to 4 sections each, making it easy to assign weekly readings and cover the content within one semester. Chapters are fairly consistent in length and complexity. Instructors have the option to re-organize the course / subject order prior to students downloading the textbook should they wish. The text is not overly self-referential.
The flow or order of idea/concept presentation is consistent to most Strategy texts, and appropriate for an introductory textbook. Within Chapter layout is consistent; each chapter begins with “Learning Outcomes” and concludes with “Key Takeaways” and exercises, which can be assigned as homework.
Neither I, nor any of my students, experienced any interface issues at all. The underlying technology appeared faultless. The navigation process is logical and all images and text were clear and high quality, even on smaller e-reading devices. As well, color use is consistent, assisting in overall navigation. Interestingly, as the first e-textbook for NWCC Business, my students appreciated the ability to perform in-text searches and hyper-link to external electronic references (in text URLs), as well as textbook’s cost of course!
I found zero (0) grammatical errors, or ‘broken’ URL links. Well edited
This text is not culturally or sexually insensitive, or offensive. Overall, examples are based on business culture with limited applicability on cultural relevance. One chapter focuses on Ethics and Social Responsibility and examines these issues from a strategic perspective, with examples. However, the focus is principally from a business perspective, as compared to social, legal or moral perspectives. As the text is fairly USA-centric, Canadian students may feel that Canadian and possibly Asian business strategies should receive greater emphasis.
Overall, I was very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the text. A ‘newbie’ to e-textbooks, I was surprised by the usefulness of additional features available with electronic textbooks (searching, imbedded URLs, etc.). As noted above, the textbook content is somewhat USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies tend to focus on USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. However, given the highly integrated nature of Canadian and USA business environments, there is some value in this. And, it was certainly not difficult to incorporate Canadian examples into the Lectures.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Mastering Strategy: Art and Science
- Chapter 2: Leading Strategically
- Chapter 3: Evaluating the External Environment
- Chapter 4: Managing Firm Resources
- Chapter 5: Selecting Business-Level Strategies
- Chapter 6: Supporting the Business-Level Strategy: Competitive and Cooperative Moves
- Chapter 7: Competing in International Markets
- Chapter 8: Selecting Corporate-Level Strategies
- Chapter 9: Executing Strategy through Organizational Design
- Chapter 10: Leading an Ethical Organization: Corporate Governance, Corporate Ethics, and Social Responsibility
About the Book
Teaching the strategic management course can be a challenge for many professors. In most business schools, strategic management is a “capstone” course that requires students to draw on insights from various functional courses they have completed (such as marketing, finance, and accounting) in order to understand how top executives make the strategic decisions that drive whether organizations succeed or fail. Although students have taken these functional courses, many students have very little experience with major organizational choices. It is this inexperience that can undermine many students’ engagement in the course.
Mastering Strategic Management is designed to enhance student engagement in three innovative ways.
The first is through visual adaptations of the key content in the book. It is well documented that many of today’s students are visual learners. To meet students’ wants and needs (and thereby create a much better teaching experience for professors), Mastering Strategic Management contains multiple graphic concept pages in ever section of every chapter of the book. Think of graphic concept pages as almost like info-graphics for key concepts in each section. This feature sets Mastering Strategic Management apart from any strategic management book on the market today.
The second way the authors capture student interest through their textbook is by using a real-world company as the running example in each chapter. For example, Chapter 1 in Mastering Strategic Management utilizes Apple to harness the conceptual coverage of the chapter in a running, corporate, application to which students will relate.
The third inventive way Mastering Strategic Management holds the attention of strategic management students is through the “strategy at the movies” feature in each chapter that links course concepts with a popular motion picture. In Chapter 1, for example, the authors describe how “The Social Network” illustrates intended, emergent, and realized strategies.
You can expect Mastering Strategic Management to cover all of the traditional topics that standard strategic management texts cover, but in an exciting way that will assist you in engaging your students in your course. See for yourself by checking out the book online today.
About the Contributors
Mastering Strategic Management is adapted from a work produced and distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2011 by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.