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    Goals for this Book

    This textbook is intended for seniors in undergraduate business programs taking a capstone course in strategic management. Most business school students begin with a broad introductory business course before concentrating on courses in their major. This textbook and corresponding course, MGT 4394 “Strategic Management,” are designed for the other end of the business curriculum. More specifically, the goal is to refocus business students from their major at the end of their time in school and help them understand how businesses become successful by leveraging their competitive advantages. While it is true that strategic management functions are typically the purview of senior leadership in a company, newly minted business graduates and their employers directly benefit when new employees understand their role in helping their organization to strategically achieve its goals.

    About this Book

    The book begins with a general introduction to the key themes and topics of strategic management. In the chapters that follow students first learn how to conduct a case analysis, measure organizational performance, and conduct external and internal analyses. Next they learn the various strategies used by firms: business/competitive level, corporate level, international, and innovation strategies. The final two chapters focus on implementing strategy and corporate ethics. Ethical considerations are integrated throughout the textbook.

    Target Audience

    This textbook is intended for a wide range of business students including those majoring in marketing, management, business administration, accounting, finance, real estate, business information technology, and hospitality and tourism. Ideally, students in each of these majors will take a strategic management course during their final semester before graduation. This book will guide them through this course as they prepare to transition from the classroom to a competitive business marketplace.

    Features of this Book

    • Example-rich narrative
    • Graphic elements which illustrate and reinforce concepts
    • Linked online glossary (glossary appears at the end for PDF and print)
    • Numerous case examples and ‘Strategy at the Movies’
    • Section-level videos, key takeaways, and exercises
    • Linked end of section references for additional reading
    • Embedded navigation and image alt-text for screen readers
    • Free online and in PDF, and in print at vendor cost of production
    • Open license, Creative Commons BY NC-SA 3.0 ( permits customization and sharing
    • Instructor community portal enables sharing of ancillary resources
    • Register your Use form allows instructors to opt in to receive book updates
    • Errata and report-an-error/share-a-suggestion forms promote currency

    If course modules are used, the textbook easily separates into six modules.

    MODULE 1 Introduction to Strategic Management: Chapters 1 and 2

    MODULE 2: External Analysis: Chapter 3

    MODULE 3: Internal Firm Analysis: Chapters 4 and 5

    MODULE 4: Innovation, Corporate and International Strategies: Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9

    MODULE 5: Executing Strategy: Chapter 10

    MODULE 6: Leading an Ethical Organization: Chapter 11

    For students who prefer to learn by listening, external video links are provided at the end of each section addressing the topic of that section. Other students may find these videos helpful as an alternative source of information and as an aid for review.

    The short introductions at the start of each chapter are intended to assist students in understanding the flow of the course, and how the chapter builds upon previous chapters. It also helps students to have a brief overview of the chapter and its content.

    The vignettes, illustrations, and examples use companies and personalities that today’s student would be familiar with. The pictures in the book should add interest to the student.

    Major terms that students need to know are hyperlinked with definitions. These terms and definitions are also provided in a glossary at the end of the book.

    Textbook Development

    Strategic Management is an adaptation of a previously published textbook (more on this below). A group of six strategic management instructors in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech were involved in deeply adapting, revising, supplementing, and developing that work into the textbook you are now reading. Kennedy, who had taught the course multiple times and served as the course coordinator, took the role of primary contributor and chief textbook reviser. The other five, all Ph.Ds in strategy or a related field, served as editors. In addition, the Research and Editorial Assistant, a recent Pamplin graduate provided a student perspective on the text, and the Design Specialist, a graduating senior, re-worked illustrations and created new figures to make them more presentable to students. The team of six editors revised the outline of the original textbook, deciding which topics to add and which ones to delete. After solidifying the outline, the lead author deleted extraneous content, composed new content, and updated content as needed. The five editors then made suggestions on content, format, illustrations, grammar, etc. Finally, the Assistant Director of Open Education in the University Libraries at Virginia Tech guided the book through the development and production processes leading up to its publication by Virginia Tech Publishing. Multiple staff formatted the text in Pressbooks, offered feedback to the editorial team, and provided copy editing and proofreading. The resulting book has been published in both online versions (Pressbooks, ePub, and PDF) and printable on-demand versions.

    Attribution and Scope of Revision

    This textbook is adapted from the openly licensed textbook Mastering Strategic Management ( published in 2011 under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 ( licence, revised and hosted by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing Service in 2015. The 2011 version of the book was written by two authors who held administrative and leadership roles at major U.S. universities. It was published in 2011 by a publisher who requested that neither the authors nor publisher receive attribution. This new version uses much of the same content and structure of the 2011 and 2015 versions, with the following significant changes:

    • Alignment of book to learning outcomes
    • Updated examples and illustrations
    • Addition of linked section-level videos
    • Re-ordering of some chapters
    • Addition of Chapter 5: Synthesis of Strategic Issues and Analysis” on the SWOT framework and strategic issues.
    • Additional mini-case studies on The Bottom of the Pyramid and COVID-19

    A more detailed list of changes is available in the book’s Version Notes at the end of the book.

    The revision process involved adding content in certain areas while removing dated or less relevant content to better align with learning objectives. We also gave the book a general refresh by adding illustrations, examples, and applications from companies and brands more relatable to today’s students.

    Strategy instructors collaborated to determine which content to supplement or delete. This coordinated effort from diverse perspectives provides more consistency among instructors in teaching the content of the course.

    An additional goal of the editorial team was to provide an affordable alternative to existing expensive strategic management textbooks. The ever-increasing costs of a college education convinced us that a strong, no-cost textbook would benefit not only Virginia Tech students but students at other colleges and universities as well.


    Our hope for this textbook is that it will enlighten and prepare students for entering the business world. After reading it they should come away with a much better grasp of the ways that organizations operate at the strategic level to be successful. Not only will they be better accountants, or whatever their particular major is, they will be better prepared as employees, especially as they rise in responsibility and take on more strategic roles in their organizations. Ultimately, we hope they will become better critical thinkers and have the ability to analyze the full range of situations they will face in their professional lives.

    Also, it is hoped that instructors in other colleges and universities will appreciate the content and structure of this textbook and adopt it for their students, providing a textbook solution for them at no cost.

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