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Grounding Strategy: Broadening the Ambit of Strategic Management in Contemporary India

In the short span of a few decades since the contemporary foundations of strategic management as a field of study were laid, it has succeeded in gaining not only legitimacy as a distinct branch of management but also prestige by virtue of its affinity with the work of senior corporate executives and management consulting firms. Meanwhile, the field’s flagship journal – the Strategic Management Journal – has established a hard-fought reputation for rigorous and top-quality research and enjoys an elite standing. Yet, even as our young field has gained academic legitimacy and status within the corridors of business schools and management institutions, it continues to engage primarily with a narrow set of questions derivative from a preoccupation with firm performance and top management teams of listed corporations.

Although North American scholarship has been tremendously productive for management as a field, the dominance of North American scholarship has also had the undesirable effect of an excessive smoothing out of strategic variations emerging from the periphery. So, for example, the social, political or legal specificities of countries such as India – variously called third world, developing or emerging, over the years – play an insignificant role in theorization in the field. The colonial legacy of the legal/administrative systems, the presence of a vast ‘unorganized’ economy of small and micro scale economic actors working with ‘micro-assets’ in highly decentralized organizing modes alongside the large public corporation does not draw the attention of disciplinary dialogues. Indeed, to be more impactful, strategic management needs to be more grounded in the granular realities of contemporary India.

This is the theme that we seek to engage with at the 17th annual meeting of the Strategic Management Forum at IIM Calcutta from 12th – 14th June, 2014. The conference this year will include invited panelists who will present their thoughts on several key themes.

  • International competition and response of Indian organizations
  • Strategy and public sector organizations
  • Business groups, institutions, and varieties of capitalism
  • Resource conflicts and strategy
  • Understanding innovation and strategy: Are there India-specific experiences?

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