"Basic Strategy in Context" centres on real-world firms and managers by giving each chapter's cases a higher weighting in importance and explanation than is normal. Given this emphasis on real-world as opposed to theoretical treatment the book enables the solving of practical business problems like those below. This emphasis on reality is cemented by the book's treatment of diversity as being the norm highlighted through European business cases from different countries. Giving example answers and colour-coded links from case to theory rams home further the expected usefulness of the book to students about to enter industry. Often theory and cases are treated as different and separated topics; we believe that our integrated didactic treatment is quite unique. Finally we use the basic theories of strategy and then show how these mainly simple concepts can be extended to solve tricky business problems anywhere in any industry. Here is a sample of specific practical problems to which this book can show solutions: Why are resources important and how are they leveraged?
Using the case of a British failure (Railtrack), we show the fatal consequences of neglecting existing resources, and then in a completely different country and industry (Carlo Gavazzi Space in Italy) how resources can be utilised from outside the firm to achieve leverage. Given our emphasis on diversity we highlight successful change in a foreign and inflexible environment (Japan and Carlos Ghosn). But can change be planned? Sometimes events or luck sabotage the best intentions as shown in the Samsung case. The book differentiates itself from the competition in four ways: cases form the highlight of the book. Taking European and some international cases as the starting point, the objective is to link themes or topics to a description of their effect on the firm. The linkage will occur at the relevant point in the case, not in a separate section or in another book. The author team has used several longitudinal cases spread over a 15-20 year period. The longitudinal cases are supported by some new, non-longitudinal cases selected from award winning cases associated with the "LRP Journal" and the Gate2Growth Academic Network. We feel such an emphasis on cases is a novel feature.
The theory is explained using a range of modern didactic methods not usually found in competitive offerings. Examples include colour coded and highlighted links from the theory to the case, questions inside each theory section with model answers and unanswered questions to test the student's grasp of the concepts. This book features a mixture of cases from short specific to academically challenging ones. Too often, superficial cases are placed at the end of chapters in strategy theory books. They are picked to emphasize the topics of the preceding chapters. The result is spoon-feeding, with little need or motivation to provoke individual thought or learning. The cases in this book are comprehensive, approximately 20 pages in length, with ample quantitative and qualitative data, thus forcing a modicum of effort from the student. Shorter cases are also included for ease of understanding and instructor flexibility. Another differentiating feature is the emphasis on diversity hence the use of European as opposed to US based cases. 'Thomson and Baden-Fuller have crafted a highly original and practical strategy textbook covering a wide range of strategic issues, debates, and frameworks.
Their work contains a thorough overview of the strategy field, appealing cases of European firms such as Abrakebabra and Your cup of tea, as well as insightful treatises on the Brent Spar ignominy and the weapon industry. The clever combination of mini-cases, theory, questions and full-fledged cases, and a clear overall structure ensure that students obtain a representative image of strategy as it plays out in the 21st century' - Paul W.L. Vlaar, Associate Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics and Business Management.
Table of Contents
Chapter layout.Each chapter has a starting case box and learning objectives section;..There are 11 chapters with case plus text plus question/discussion topics and glossary sections.Layout of the Book.1. Introduction with methodology and mini case to show pedagogy.Each chapter follows the following structure: Case Box with Learning Objectives & Content Summary; Main Case, with highlighted links throughout; Theory and Analysis / Chapter Summary: what did we learn from this case?/ Questions, Discussion Topics, Assignment / Glossary of Key Concepts..Section One: Formulation.2. What is strategy? A case based around a typical strategic decision. Intended vs. emergent CASE: Amtssparekassen.3. Analysing the external environment. SWOT and PEST Case: Your Cup of Tea.4. Analysing the internal environment. Competences, stakeholders. CASE: Gavazzi Space (?).5. Ethics Case: Shell Shock.Section Two: Implementation.6. Direction, diversification or not. CASE: GKN?.7. Focus, cost or differentiation: CASE: Puma?.8. Change of mindsets: CASE: Samsung.9. Strategic Options M&A. Case: LaFarge/Blue Circle.10. Organisational structure and control. Case: Abrakebabra case from Ireland.11. Knowledge/Corporate entrepreneurship. Case: Siemens?.A typical generic heading for the M&A chapter would be "strategic options - direction and methods of development". The number of cases is one per chapter, with maybe an exception in the first chapter. 10 cases seems not too excessive to me. Leaving one chapter without a case would interrupt the synergy as well as erase a learning link. Certainly additional cases can be parked on a web site. A number of the chapters could have mini-cases (of 8 pages or less).
Although Prof. Neil Thomson has been Professor of International Business at the University of Applied Sciences, Nurnberg, Germany since 1999 and lived in Germany from the early 1980s, he is British by birth. He has a PhD from City University in London, MBA from Cornell University, USA, and a BSc from Bradford University, GB. He has extensive industrial experience in the oil industry and consulting, as well as a spell working for the US Government as a financial controller. He has several articles published in the LRP journal. Prof. Charles Baden-Fuller is Centenary Professor of Strategic Management at the Cass Business School, City University London. He is Editor-in-Chief of the LRP journal and a member of the European Academy of Management EURAM. He is author of many influential journal articles and co-author of Rejuvenating the Mature Business and Strategic Innovation..