Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage
The first thing you will notice as you look through this edition of our book is that it contin ues to be much shorter than most textbooks on strategic management. There is not the usual “later edition” increase in number of pages and bulk. We’re strong proponents of the philosophy that,often, lessis more. Thegeneral tendency is for textbooks to getlongerand longer as authors make sure that their books leave out nothing that is in other books. We take a different approach. Our guiding principle in deciding what to include is; “Does this concept help students analyze cases and real business situations?” Formanyconcepts we considered, the answer is no. But,where the answer Isyes, the conceptis in the book.
VRIO Framework and Other Hallmark Features
We continue to have a pointof viewabout the field of strategic management, In planning for this book,we recalled our own educationalexperience and the textbooks that did and didn’t workfor us then. Those fewthat stoodout as thebest did not merely cover allof the different topics in a field ofstudy. They provided a framework thatwecould carry around in our heads, and they helped us to see what we werestudying as an integrated whole rather than a disjointed sequence of loosely related subjects. This text continues to be integrated around the VRIOframework. As those of you familiar with the resource-based the ory of strategy recognize, the VRIO framework addresses the central questions aroimd gaining and sustaining competitive advantage. TheVRIO logic ofcompetitive advantage is applied in everychapter. It is simple enough to understandand teach yet broadenoughto apply to a wide variety of cases and business settings.
Our consistent use of the VRIO framework does not mean that any of the concepts fundamental to a strategy course are missing.Westillhave all of the core ideas and theories that are essential to a strategy course. Ideas such as the five forces framework, value chain analysis, generic strategies, and corporate strategy are all in the book. Because the VRIO framework provides a single integrative structure, we are able to address issues in this bookthat are largely ignored elsewhereâ€”including discussions ofvertical integration, out sourcing, real options logic, and mergers and acquisitions, to name a few.
We also have designed flexibility into the book. Eachchapter has four short sections that present specific issues in more depth. These sections allow instructors to adapt the book to the particularneeds oftheir students. “Strategyin Depth” examines the intellectual foundations that are behind the way managers think about and practice strategy today. “Strategy in the Emerging Enterprise” presents examples of strategic challenges faced by new and emerging enterprises. “Ethics and Strategy” delves into some of the ethical dilem mas that managers face as they confront strategic decisions. “Research Made Relevant” includesrecentresearch related to the topics in that chapter.
To us, the field of strategicmanagement is morethan just a textbook, morethan justa class. It is a passion; a passion wehavesharedforover30years. Andin the midstof today’s financial challenges, it seems that understanding howfirms can gainand sustain competitive advantagesâ€”if anythingâ€”is even more important. For, while we emphasize the economic consequences for shareholders of enhancing a firm’s performance, it is also important to remember that usually mostofa firm’s stakeholdersâ€”^including itsemployees and society at largeâ€”benefit when a firm enhances its efficiency and gains a competitive advantage.
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