Teaching strategic management classes can be a very difficult challenge for 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) to understand how top executives make the strategic decisions that drive whether organizations succeed or fail. Many students have very little experience with major organizational choices. This undermines many students’ engagement in the course.
Our book is designed to enhance student engagement. A good product in any industry matches what customers want and need, and the textbook industry is no exception. 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), our book offers the following:
- Several graphic displays in each chapter that summarize key concepts in a visually appealing format.Chapter 1 “Mastering Strategy: Art and Science”, for example, offers graphic displays on (1) the “5 Ps” of strategy; (2) intended, emergent, and realized strategies; (3) strategy in ancient times; (4) military strategy; and (5) the evolution of strategic management as a field of study. The idea for the graphic displays was inspired by the visually rich and popular series on business published by DK Publishing.
- Rich, illustrative examples drawn from companies that are relevant to many students. As part of our emphasis on examples, each chapter uses one company as an ongoing example to bring various concepts to life. In Chapter 1 “Mastering Strategy: Art and Science”, Apple is used as the ongoing example.
- A “strategy at the movies” feature in each chapter that links course concepts with a popular motion picture. In Chapter 1 “Mastering Strategy: Art and Science”, for example, we describe how The Social Network illustrates intended, emergent, and realized strategies.
Meanwhile, working within the business model gives our book a significant price advantage over other textbooks. Politicians in many states are paying more and more attention over time to the cost of a college education, including the high prices of most textbooks. It is therefore reasonable to expect an ever-increasing number of professors to seek modestly priced textbooks. Professors still want to be assured of quality, of course. Both of us are endowed chairs at Research I universities. We have long track records of publishing our research in premier journals, and we have served in a variety of editorial and review board roles for such journals. Finally, we recognize that professors want to minimize their switching costs when adopting a new book. Although every textbook is a little unique, our table of contents offers a structure and topic coverage that parallels what market leading books provide.