Current business contexts are defined by intense pressures of competition, integration across global markets, technological changes including the use of information technology. These both frame and challenge a firm’s ambitions of growth.
Strategy is a mode of thinking that leverages the power of individuals, institutions, firms and markets in a cohesive manner to improve the effectiveness of an organization. Hence, we can call it the exercise of power. It is a skill and a craft. Strategy is thus fundamentally about governance. Power can of course be sought for its own sake and therefore crafty strategists in its pursuit may deform and transform business and societal spaces and existing institutions, even while setting ‘new rules of the game’. Strategizing is a valuable skill particularly in a dynamic environment.
Regulatory convergence is bringing firms that were nurtured in ‘specific national institutional settings’, to compete in global markets. Understanding the institutional setting of rival and/or partner firms so as to better appreciate their strengths and weakness adds an additional layer of complexity to the strategic endeavor. Navigating the challenges of global competition therefore requires an appreciation, not only of the strategic moves a firm can make – but more importantly how these relate to and interweave with the broader institutions that frame and define strategic action.
This course therefore presumes that strategic action, of competition or cooperation, always is embedded in societal, institutional and regulatory contexts. Rather than looking at these as constraints, it helps if one can appreciate how wins can be crafted and power effectively leveraged working within and through these broader institutions, to the benefit of both firm and society.