The Strategic Management pathway


In simple terms, a strategy is the position or stance an organisation adopts to compete, survive and succeed in its environment. Strategic management is the conception, management and execution of this position. However, these seemingly simple definitions hide tremendous complexities. For example:

  • how are strategies selected? 
  • why do organisations end up with suboptimal strategies? 
  • how do managers recognise what resources to develop, which organisations to ally with (or acquire) and when? 
  • why do organisations repeatedly overlook major strategic threats? 
  • how does the composition of a top management team determine the success or failure of a firm? 
  • what role do external stakeholders, such as analysts or traders, play in determining a firm’s strategy? 

These and hundreds of other questions are what keep strategy scholars busy!

In answering these important questions, strategy scholars often draw upon theories and insights from strategic management, economics, psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology and sometimes even the natural sciences. At Cambridge Judge Business School, there are 2 streams you can follow to obtain a PhD in Strategic Management. The 2 streams differ in terms of:

  • the theoretical perspectives they deploy
  • the methodological approaches
  • what masters degree you initially take.

Stream A

is via the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations (SMO) or Master of Research (MRes)

Stream A equips you with rigorous quantitative approaches such as econometrics, experiments and behavioural statistics. You can use mixed-methods to leverage the strengths of varied quantitative techniques and to enrich the insights gained through your studies.

Stream B

is via the MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation (ISO) or Master of Research (MRes)

Stream B allows a variety of qualitative methodological approaches including grounded theory, case studies, ethnography discourse analysis, and other methodological techniques. It also allows for mixed method studies, though if you are interested in a primarily quantitative study you should consider joining the methodology courses in Stream A, which will equip you with cutting edge quantitative methods and techniques.