NAVIGATING BETWEEN DIFFERENT
APPROACHES AND LEARNING IMPACTS
Guest Editors for the Special
R. Greg Bell, University of
Igor Filatotchev, City University of
London and WU, Vienna
Ryan Krause, Texas Christian
Michael Hitt, Texas A&M
The topic of this Special Issue is strategic management
education. Strategic management courses today are criticized for
being "repositories of multiple frameworks that are not tightly
integrated and are aging rapidly" (Mahoney & McGahan, 2007, p.
86). Others have voiced concerns with regard to the lack of
effectiveness of strategic management education (Jarzabkowski &
Kaplan, 2015; Porter & McKibbin, 1988; Mintzberg & Gosling,
2002). Mintzberg (2004) argues that MBA faculty have too readily
reduced strategic management to a kit bag of analytic techniques
that are often inadequate and irrelevant to effective strategic
thinking itself. Some observers note that "practitioners
increasingly judge the field as irrelevant, and that judgment is
reflected in student assessment" (Bower, 2008; p. 274).
This Special Issue is devoted to addressing the increasingly
frequent calls for more relevant and practically applicable
strategy education (e. g. Bower, 2008; Mintzberg, 2004; Greiner,
Bhambri, & Cummings, 2003; Rynes, Bartunek, & Daft, 2001;
Starkey & Madan, 2001). Its aim is to assess the learning
and knowledge transfer implications of different philosophies,
designs, and approaches to strategic management education based on
both the cutting edge research in the field and its highly relevant
practical implications. Empirical and conceptual pieces are welcome
in the following areas:
THE ROLE AND PLACE OF THEORY IN STRATEGY
There is an ongoing debate about the role and place of theory in
strategy education. On the one hand, the theory
acquisitive approach (Grant 2008) argues for an
emphasis on theory, built on the assumption that applying a set of
pre-established steps allows the student who knows little about the
topic to learn more efficiently and economically. Alternatively,
advocates of the practice based approach (Bower 2008;
Jarzabkowski & Spee, 2009) contend their
approach develops more fully the students' capacity for more
innovative, blue ocean approaches to strategy formulation and
implementation. It is important that strategy educators
address the role and place for theory because some (e.g., Ghoshal,
2005) assert that what we teach is actually bad for practice. These
debates raise a number of relevant questions:
- In what ways can theory improve strategy education and
- Are there alternative approaches to teaching strategic
management beyond the theory acquisitive and
practice based approach extremes?
- How can we reconcile rigor in learning with practical relevance
of strategic management concepts and frameworks?
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND STRATEGY
There is an increasing awareness of societal and environmental
issues affected by business activities, especially those of
multinational companies (MNCs). Thus the quest for enhancing
corporate focus on business ethics and corporate social
responsibility (CSR) is not only an answer to recent corporate
scandals and the recognition that business leaders may be acting
irresponsibly more often than previously thought, but also a result
of the changes and new demands in the global marketplace, such as
increased stakeholder activism and scrutiny (e.g., Filatotchev and
Stahl, 2015). Although it is still contested whether corporations
and their leaders have social responsibilities that extend beyond
their wealth-generating function, in light of growing
socio-political and environmental challenges around the world,
there is increasing pressure from stakeholders - among them
governments, local communities, NGOs and consumers - for
corporations and their leaders to self-regulate and contribute to
the "triple bottom line" of social, environmental, and economic
sustainability ("people, planet, profits"). Possible discussion
- Should strategic management education integrate elements of
business ethics and CSR?
- How can strategy education include both the market environment
and the social, political, and legal nonmarket environments in
which firms operate?
- How can academics raise awareness among future business leaders
of the importance of corporate strategic objectives that go beyond
mere compliance with laws and regulations and embrace wider
ANALYSIS, DECISION MAKING, AND
Since decision-making quality is the key to effective strategy
formulation and implementation, there are increasing calls for
strategic management education to place greater emphasis on what
students are being taught about the "how" of strategic
management. This leads to a number of important discussion
- Are there ways in which decision-making styles can be
integrated with popular strategy tools including Porter's five
forces and value chain analyses, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, threats) and VRIO (value, rarity, imitability,
organization) frameworks, portfolio matrices, and strategy clocks,
- Students today are criticized for their inability to handle the
ambiguity of high rates of change facing many industries. How
can strategy educators prepare students to think critically and
creatively while taking into account multiple perspectives and
- How can strategic management students develop an ability to
cope with paradoxes and ambiguity, given the complexity and
contradiction now implicit in strategy making (Schneider &
- Strategic management courses are dominated by the scientific
paradigm (Bennis & O'Toole, 2005; Pfeffer & Fong, 2002). As
a result, business schools produce plenty of "technocrats" and
"craftsman" but few "artists" (Maranville, 2011). How can
strategy courses integrate the artistic paradigm?
- How can strategic management courses be designed to fully
integrate analysis and implementation, and what are the roles of
non-academic tutors in achieving this?
There are several additional areas in which we welcome
submissions that advance strategic management teaching and
- While the primary focus of the special issue is on teaching
strategy in the academic environment, we also seek to examine
approaches to strategy education and training that are practiced by
other profit and nonprofit organizations.
- We also welcome papers devoted to innovation in strategic
management education. For example, such papers might explore
combining field experiments with class discussions, or integrating
diverse media in the strategy courses.
- We also echo the call of others to determine how alternative
modes of learning beyond the teacher-student exchange, such as peer
review and peer-to-peer exchange, as well as the development of
specialized student expertise, can advance students' understanding
of the complexity of strategic decision making (Mahoney &
Initial submissions should be received by May 1,
2017 and should be designated for either the Research
& Reviews section or the Essays, Dialogues, & Interviews
section. Authors are encouraged to visit AMLE's website
(www.aom.pace.edu/amle) for detailed guidance on these
sections. Submissions should be accompanied by an assurance
of originality and exclusivity. Papers should adhere to the
"Information for Contributors" guide for authors that can be found
All submissions will be subject to a rigorous double-blind
peer-review process, with one or more of the guest editors acting
as action editor, and final approval coming from the AMLE
journal editor. Invitations to revise and resubmit will follow
initial submissions in approximately 3 months. Final acceptances
will be made by May 1, 2018. Please direct any questions regarding
the Special Issue to Igor Filatotchev (Igor.Filatotchev@city.ac.uk),
Greg Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Ryan
Bennis, W. G., & O'Toole, J. (2005). How business schools
lost their way. Harvard Business
Review, 83(5), 96-104.
Bower, J. L. (2008). The Teaching of Strategy: From General
Manager to Analyst and Back Again? Journal of Management
Inquiry, 17(4), 269-275.
Filatotchev I., & Stahl, G. (2015). Towards transnational
CSR: Corporate social responsibility approaches and governance
solutions for multinational corporations', Organizational
Dynamics, 44, 121-129.
Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good
management practices. Academy of Management Learning &
Education, 4(1), 75-91.
Grant, R. M. (2008). Why strategy teaching should be theory
based. Journal of Management Inquiry, 17(4),
Greiner, L. E., Bhambri, A., & Cummings, T. G. (2003).
Searching for a strategy to teach strategy. Academy of
Management Learning & Education, 2(4),
Jarzabkowski, P., & Kaplan, S. (2015). Strategy
tools‐in‐use: A framework for understanding "technologies of
rationality" in practice. Strategic Management Journal,
Jarzabkowski P., M. Giulietti, B Oliveira & N. Amoo (2013),
'We don't need no education'. Or do we:
Management education and alumni adoption of strategy
tools', Journal of Management Inquiry, 22(1),
Jarzabkowski, P., Spee, A. P. (2009), 'Strategy as practice: A review and future
directions for the field', International Journal
of Management Reviews, 11(1), 69-95.
Mahoney, J. T., & McGahan, A. M. (2007). The field of
strategic management within the evolving science of strategic
Organization, 5(1), 79-99.
Maranville, S. (2011). The Art of Strategic Management: A
Case-Based Exercise. Journal of Management
Education, 35(6), 782-807.
Mintzberg, H. (2004). Managers, not MBAs: A hard look at the
soft practice of managing and management development.
Mintzberg, H., & Gosling, J. (2002). Educating managers
beyond borders. Academy of Management Learning &
Education, 1(1), 64-76.
Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of business
schools? Less success than meets the eye. Academy of Management
Learning & Education, 1(1), 78-95.
Porter, L. W., & McKibbin, L. E. (1988). Management
Education and Development: Drift or Thrust into the 21st Century?.
McGraw-Hill Book Company, College Division, PO Box 400, Hightstown,
Rynes, S. L., Bartunek, J. M., & Daft, R. L. (2001). Across
the great divide: Knowledge creation and transfer between
practitioners and academics. Academy of Management
Journal, 44(2), 340-355.
Schneider, M., & Lieb, P. (2004). The challenges of teaching
strategic management: Working toward successful inclusion of the
resource-based view. Journal of Management
Education, 28(2), 170-187.
Starkey, K., & Madan, P. (2001). Bridging the relevance gap:
Aligning stakeholders in the future of management
research. British Journal of
Management, 12(s1), S3-S26.