Big Strategy/Small Strategy

Whittington, Richard (2012) Big Strategy/Small Strategy. Strategic Organization, 10 (3). pp. 263-268.


My title plays on Rumelt’s (2011) instant classic Good Strategy/Bad Strategy. That book focuses on what works well or otherwise for organizations. Big Strategy/Small Strategy switches the focus to different issues. ‘Small Strategy’ is about financial performance, typically of firms in competitive industries. ‘Big Strategy’ is about significance – impacts and purposes that stretch far beyond
firm performance. Here Big Strategy research is motivated by three crucial facts. Today, many of the world’s most powerful firms are not simple profit-maximizers; these firms are weakly disciplined by competition; and their effects reverberate throughout society. Most strategy research ducks these issues. The Big Strategy concept seeks to rally efforts to give powerful firms and their wider effects a more central place in the discipline.

This essay, therefore, is about thinking bigger in strategy research. In particular, the discipline should take more seriously the macro-impacts of the world’s most powerful firms. Big Strategy implies a broadening of dependent variables; increased emphasis on critical case and industry studies; and a greater readiness to engage with public policy issues. The way the world is changing, we are going to need more Big Strategy research.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: organizational strategy
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 11:43
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:08

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