Strategic Management: A New Narrative

Liam Goodman

In today's fast-changing world, especially in business, keeping up is a challenge. Just last year, Generative AI completely changed how we think about the economy. Add to that the constant developments in geopolitics, technology, and the stakeholder demands, and it is clear how quickly things are moving.

A couple of years ago, as an external lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, I was contacted by some colleagues who realised that most of the strategy textbooks used in class weren’t keeping up with these changes. 

For instance, in addressing firms’ external environment these books extensively emphasise industries, while offering minimal coverage of business ecosystems, hindering effective analysis of today's major platform-based firms. 

The colleagues had started writing a book to address this and asked me to become involved in the process. Writing this book wasn't just about putting words on paper. We were questioning old ideas and exploring new ones, diving deep into how businesses work today and all the complicated things that affects them.

The book adds novel subject areas such as business ecosystems, digital platforms, corporate purpose, and business model innovation. Further, the book revisits prevailing topics with today’s lens. For example, we consider nonmarket strategy to see the ways in which firms can use political activity and social responsibility to maintain business continuity. Other noteworthy inclusions are the focus on strategic renewal, alliance management and digital technology.

While contributing to this book, I also started a new chapter in my life: I got into the MIM'23 programme at INSEAD. 

After half a year of writing parts of the book with the authoring team, I started preparing to spend a year between Fontainebleau, Singapore, and San Francisco. This was exciting but also made me wonder how my recent work on strategy would fit in at one of the world’s elite business schools.

During my time at INSEAD, I experienced a profound sense of validation. The complex ideas we explored in our book were reflected in the latest presentations, discussed passionately in classrooms. Listening to business executives and faculty, it became clear: our work resonated outside The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where the authoring team is from. It was relevant, resonant with the teachings in France, Singapore, and San Francisco. This alignment between our insights and INSEAD's expertise was both affirming and inspiring.

This book, Strategic Management: From Confrontation to Transformation, holds a lot of value to me. It's not just about ideas; it's a story of how the business world is changing and how we can think differently about strategy in the face of big global challenges.

But this is just the start. I want to invite you to explore these ideas with us. Check out our book and see how it might change your view of business and strategy. I'm really looking forward to hearing what you think about it, and you can let us know on LinkedIn.

In a way that feels more than coincidental, my work at the University of Amsterdam and as an INSEAD alum continue to intertwine. Along with Dr. Hollen and Prof. Volberda, we're writing a paper on how public policies shape business ecosystems, a project that began with my bachelor's thesis and later featured at the Academy of Management. 

At the same time, I found myself joining a Dutch INSEAD alumni team organising the annual Amsterdam Strategy Forum. By chance, this year’s edition focuses on intersection of geopolitics and ecosystem governance.

Looking back, the connection between my INSEAD experience and our book feels significant. It shows how strategic thinking is changing around the world and how these new ideas are universal. 

As I move forward, I'm taking with me all the lessons, ideas, and connections from this journey – it's been a mix of experiences that have influenced my writing and my time at INSEAD.

Strategic Management: From Confrontation to Transformation (published by SAGE, ISBN 9781529770575) by Volberda et al. is for sale globally. Suitable for introducing and refreshing decades of research on business strategy.