Get access

What is strategic management?


  • Melanie Jasper PhD, MSc, BNurs, BA, RGN, RM, RHV, PGCEA,

    Professor of Nursing, Head of, Corresponding author
    • College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Frank Crossan PhD, MN, DipN, RN

    Professor, Director of the
    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Midwifery, Education, Research and Practice, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK
    Search for more papers by this author


Melanie Jasper

College of Human and Health Sciences

Swansea University

Singleton Park

Swansea SA4 3FX






To discuss the theoretical concept of strategic management and explore its relevance for healthcare organisations and nursing management.


Despite being a relatively new approach, the growth of strategic management within organisations has been consistently and increasingly promoted. However, comprehensive definitions are scarce and commonalities of interpretation are limited.


This paper presents an exploratory discussion of the construct of strategic management, drawing on the literature and questioning its relevance within health-care organisations.


Literature relating to strategic management across a number of fields was accessed, drawing primarily on meta-studies within management literature, to identify key concepts and attempt to present a consistent definition. The concept within health care is explored in relation to nursing management.


Inconsistency in definitions and utilisation of key concepts within this management approach results in the term being loosely applied in health-care organisations without recourse to foundational principles and a deep understanding of the approach as a theory as opposed to an applied term.

Implications for Nursing Management

Nurse managers are increasingly asked to adopt the ‘next-best-thing’ in managerial theories, yet caution needs to be taken in nurses agreeing to use systems that lack an evidence base in terms of both efficacy and relevance of context.