This study examines the effect of 13 strategic management activities on the financial performance of a national sample of 797 U.S. rural hospitals during the period of 1983-1988. Controlled for environment-market, geographic-region, and hospital-related variables, the results show almost no measurable effect of strategic adoption on rural hospital profitability and liquidity. Where statistically significant relationships existed, they were more often negative than positive. These findings were not expected; it was hypothesized that positive effects across a broad range of strategies would emerge, other things being equal. Discussed are possible explanations for these findings as well as their implication for a rural health policy relying on individual rural hospital strategic adaptation to environmental change.