What is strategic management, really? Inductive derivation of a consensus definition of the field



It is commonly asserted that the field of strategic management is fragmented and lacks a coherent identity. This skepticism, however, is paradoxically at odds with the great success that strategic management has enjoyed. How might one explain this paradox? We seek answers to this question by relying first on a large-scale survey of strategic management scholars from which we derive an implicit consensual definition of the field—as tacitly held by its members. We then supplement this implicit definition with an examination of the espoused definitions of the field obtained from a group of boundary-spanning scholars. Our findings suggest that strategic management's success as a field emerges from an underlying consensus that enables it to attract multiple perspectives, while still maintaining its coherent distinctiveness. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.