Principles of Strategic Management by Manmohan Joshi

3. 2. 2022
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The objective of the book review of the book Principles of Strategic Management by Manmohan Joshi is to convey the message that anyone interested in the field of Strategic Management, Leadership and Organizational studies would find this book worth reading. Joshi structures this book systematically by initially providing a background of the process of management, then moving on to the meaning and nature of strategic management, further discussing its history and relevance and onwards to discussing objectives and planning in the corporate sector. He then continues with strategy implementation, which he asserts begins with setting the right priorities and objectives. Lastly, Joshi elaborates on this by reviewing different types of businesses, including multi-businesses, small businesses, and e-businesses. This allows the reader to more broadly apply what has been presented throughout the text about the nature and practice of strategic management, to a diverse set of business contexts and allows the reader to have a better understanding of the nature of strategic management in different styles of businesses.  

Principles of Strategic Management by Manmohan Joshi is an ebook in the English language at its first edition, comprising of 80 pages and published in 2016 by Manmohan Joshi and bookboon.com. Its ISBN is 9788740315523. The price of the book is USD $8.99. Manmohan Joshi has over 40 years teaching, training and administrative experience. He has also authored several books on different subjects, namely, Administration Skills, Essentials of Marketing, Human Resource Management and Supervisory Skills. Joshi is now a freelance Management and Education Consultant. 

Principles of Strategic Management is meant for anyone interested in the field of Strategic Management, Leadership and Organizational studies. This could include students specializing in the field of Management, Strategic Management and Organizational studies, as well as employers looking to enhance their own understanding in this field in order to promote greater productivity, profit and work satisfaction. Teachers, educational administrators, managers, supervisors and marketing personnel would be interested in this book too. 

Strategic management involves planning and helps organizational leaders to plan for the future existence and prosperity of their organizations. This planning applies to both on-site and remote environments. This is especially relevant in these uncertain times due to the pandemic where remote work has taken precedence over on-site work for many organizations globally. The context of this book is therefore very relevant and well-integrated in the current discussions in the fields of leadership, strategic management and organizational studies. 

Joshi structures this book systematically by initially providing a background of the process of management, then moving on to the meaning and nature of strategic management, further discussing its history and relevance and onwards to discussing objectives and planning in the corporate sector. He then continues with strategy implementation, which he asserts begins with setting the right priorities and objectives. In order to formulate an effective corporate strategic plan, Joshi describes the importance of creating a SWOT Analysis “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” (Joshi, 2016, p. 49). He also explores how to track strategic implementation, specifically of the operating plan, and discusses the accountability of management. Lastly, Joshi elaborates on this by reviewing different types of businesses, including multi-businesses, small businesses, and e-businesses. This allows the reader to more broadly apply what has been presented throughout the text about the nature and practice of strategic management, to a diverse set of business contexts and allows the reader to have a better understanding of the nature of strategic management in different styles of businesses.  

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this publication is its elaboration upon the definition of, need for and issues in strategic management. Also, by outlining the various theories and theorists (Chandler, Andrews and others) of Strategic Management, this book offers a strong understanding of the contributions of these theories towards effective strategic management. In the chapter, history and relevance of strategic management, the author clearly outlines the reasons why strategies fail. The manner in which this is written is clear and easy to grasp. Some important lessons could be learned from this section. While Joshi in this book briefly discusses ethics in business and code of conduct, this section is surprisingly very brief (barely a paragraph) with very little attention given to the important topic of ethics and ethical conduct. On the other hand, authors such as Franck (2012) in her work Ethics in Strategic Management discusses ethics and strategy together to understand the ethos of an organization, elaborating upon subjective ethics and the experiences of sameness and otherness within the organization. This book, Principles of Strategic Management by Manmohan Joshi would have done more justice to its readers had it gone into deeper details of ethics and ethical conduct in business, perhaps even citing some examples of ethics violation or ethical compliance from the organizational standpoint. 

While Joshi describes the section on corporate planning in this book, with ease and clarity including subsections namely, overview, definition, needs of and factors incorporate planning, authors Langham & Hussey (2014), in their book Corporate planning: the human factor, go much deeper and in greater detail about corporate planning including important perspectives on avoiding mistakes in corporate planning, which gives a full spectrum to the dynamics involved in corporate planning and a practical handbook for management seeking to learn how to avoid such mistakes. This would have been an added value to the book. 

In the chapter, The Anatomy of Implementation, Joshi explains that the success and failure of an implementation plan rest on what changes and strategic plans are occurring in the workplace. Thus, according to the author, changes should be made and applied to the existing system only after considering key issues, and the stakeholders involved. Joshi argues that implementation can be streamlined by eliminating factors that fall short of industry standards, and by creating new sources which will add value to the industry and improve the business's position both internally and externally (Joshi, 2016). He then discusses the steps for doing so in detail, analyzing how and why implemented strategies are successful by looking at operating plans: their numbers, key issues, scope, group formation, sponsorship, leadership, objectives, and other critical issues. Joshi concludes this very thorough examination by describing how to conduct a SWOT analysis and discussing its many advantages. 

Strategic management

These comprehensive discussions about accountability and commitment are critical to the contemporary discourse of strategic management, since they represent crucial factors in the implementation, monitoring, and reassessment of operating plans. In describing the accountability factor, he notes the importance of quality leadership, stating that " [accountability] depends on the quality of top-level leadership and middle and lower management throughout the implementation period” (Joshi, 2016, p. 45). This would have been an excellent juncture to address how the related (and often mistakenly overlapped) definitions of 'accountability' and 'responsibility' are often wrongly confabulated and/or correlated. This is important because doing so can cause confusion and generally impact the overall process of implementation (especially of the operating plan). According to McGrath & Whitty (2018), “[a]ccountability = liability for ensuring a task is satisfactorily done” (p.14) whereas “[r]esponsibility = an obligation to satisfactorily perform a task” (p. 9).

In Tracking Strategy Implementation (Chapter 8), Joshi goes on to explain the importance of ongoing reassessment to successful plan implementation and practical considerations such as considering resources, how to manage and monitor results, and tips for being flexible and resourceful in making adjustments, training, documentation, and process testing. Joshi's assertions are also supported by other scholarly work in this area: Nag et al. (2007) and Kazmi (2008) also underline this point, pointing out that the success of strategic management involves formulation, implementation, and evaluation, while duly considering internal and external resources, as well as the culture and environment of the organization. 

Joshi continues asserting this need for change in Chapter 7, Implementing Strategy, but moves into the area of operating systems and implementing strategies. He discusses formulating and implementing plan for changes, the scope of decision-making and the role of a 'sponsor' to oversee this process (Joshi, 2016). The aspect of a sponsor is relatively unique to Joshi's work, and he describes this as a pivotal role taken by a senior executive (p. 64) in which they are both responsible and accountable for the operating plan formulation, members of the team and their roles, set up and frequency of sessions, etc. In order to give a thorough picture of how this works, Joshi presents figures which visually describe four operating plan formulation processes. This hopefully adds to the reader's increased comprehension of this new concept and how it impacts the steps and processes of operating plan formulations.  

In Multi-Businesses (Chapter 8), Small Businesses (Chapter 9), and E-Businesses (Chapter 10), the author gives a context-specific description in order to clarify how different business types and settings might apply the substance of his work in this ever-changing world. Joshi explains the corporate gap, and what leads to successes and failures in alliances between organizations. He also includes a section on corporate planning, including its negative impacts on entrepreneurial activity, since it impacts on the freedom of entrepreneurs to benefit from available resources. However, as Joshi explains, there are strong advantages to corporate planning as it improves analytical examination, and the progress and future of an effective management information system, as well as operational plans on an organizational level. With regards to the relevant topic of global business, Joshi details the responsibilities of a board of directors, the integration of business units, and the importance of responsiveness to local cultures. Joshi then profiles successful global organizations such as “McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut [which] are good examples of this phenomenon. They have added regional tastes in their offerings and have been able to create markets in whichever country they have gone to” (Joshi, 2016, p. 69). The author concludes by emphasizing the importance of strategic alliances, including the selection of the right partners, organizational size, alignment of products and/or services, and the production and technology capabilities. Here, Joshi makes an excellent point in restating the importance of monitoring set targets and revising them if needed, especially in a highly collaborative environment. 

He then moves on to discussing the unique advantages of small businesses, including small entrepreneurial businesses. He points out their inherent strengths, such as flexibility and freedom in decision making. and their ability to often benefit from resources in the absence of applicable rules and regulations. The author also details how some of those small entrepreneurial businesses grow into large businesses, such as Uber, Airbnb, and Xiaomi (Joshi, 2016). This is a section that could have been expanded upon, especially considering that his audience may include many individuals in management who are seeking that level of growth. He discusses how planning and strategic management may differ in small firms and the nature of strategic management in small firms. Lastly, Joshi explores electronic and online businesses which do both buying/selling of products and also provision of services. Again, the author uses specific and recent e-business examples such as Amazon, eBay, and bookboon and does not shy away from looking at the challenges facing e-businesses: including the difficulties in managing rapid growth in size and profits, and the management of partnerships between companies in the quest for better services and increased profits. Finally, citing Porter's (1985) work, Joshi shows how e-business strategies and strategic processes impact value chain analyses (as cited by Joshi, 2016, p. 78), which is an area not always explored in management studies. 

Conclusion 

The book is well structured with chapters flowing systematically, such as beginning with an overview and process of management and then going into explaining various aspects of strategic management. This format makes a clear interconnection between management and strategic management wherein the former is an umbrella to this specialization (strategic management) that flourishes within the broad area of management. Use of charts support arguments made by the author very effectively. This would surely lure readers with visual learning styles to an enjoyable book reading experience. One of the strengths of the book also is its discussions of theories and theorists of strategic planning. This gives a strong evidence-based feel to the book while honoring the contributions made by the scholars and practitioners of past in and to this field. Sections within this book by Joshi, such as ethics in planning, and relationship between forecasting and planning could have been more elaborate, including examples and case studies on a global level so as to offer readers an experience of different scenarios occurring in organizations world over. This would have made the book even more impactful. 

Joshi's emphasis on strategy implementation with operational plans is especially helpful in its multilayered detail: he discusses planning groups, boards of directors, different types of businesses, as well as their roles and responsibilities. However, the author could have spoken in more depth about accountability and demarcated it from responsibility. He may have missed an opportunity to look at how these are critical factors in the operation and success of any organization, particularly at each stage of planning, implementation, monitoring, and assessment/reassessment. Similarly, Joshi neglects the importance of internal and external cultures, and remains silent on the issue of diversity within organizations, and its impact on stakeholders, and the growth of an organization. It is vital to understand how workplaces are changing and becoming more diverse and thus how managing workplace diversity effectively is key to the success of any organization, and its employees and stakeholders. It would be of great interest to see how Joshi would explore the topic of workplace diversity and its effect on strategic management, especially in terms of leadership. 

Author: Rukmini Borooah Pyatt

Co-Author: Maryam Naji

 

Bibliography:

Franck, H. (2012). Ethics in Strategic Management: An Inquiry into Otherness of a Strategy Process.

Joshi, M. (2016). Principles of Strategic Management. Bookboon.

Kazmi, A. (2008). Strategic Management and Business Policy. (3rd ed). New Delhi: McGraw-Hill Companies

Langham, M. J., & Hussey, D. E. (2014). Corporate planning: the human factor. Elsevier.

Ieraci, S. (2007). Responsibility versus accountability in a risk-averse culture. Emergency Medicine Australasia: EMA, 19(1), 63-64.

McGrath, S. K., & Whitty, S. J. (2018). Accountability and responsibility defined. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.

Nag, R., Hambrick, D. C., & Chen, M. J. (2007). What is strategic management, really? 

Inductive derivation of a consensus definition of the field. Strategic management journal, 28(9), 935-955.

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