Strategic management cultures: historical connections with science

Gerardo David Abreu Pederzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)
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Purpose: The implicit and indirect influence of classical science on strategic management has been of utmost importance in the development of the discipline. Classical science has underpinned the main and even contrasting strategic management cultures. Classical science has undoubtedly allowed strategic management to thrive. Nevertheless, important limitations, roadblocks and challenges have also been produced. This paper aims to explore the influence of classical science on the main positivist and interpretive strategic management cultures. Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual review is done on the influence of classical science on positivist and interpretivist traditions in strategic management. Findings: The benefits and shortcomings of classical science in strategic management are explored and presented. Furthermore, the convoluted implicit relationship between strategic management and science is shown to be changing but persisting, as to face some of the challenges of the classical science culture of strategic management, a complexity culture, also inspired partially on science, seems to be developing in strategic management. Complexity seems to be emerging as an alternative, which might allow strategic management to solve some of its current dilemmas and, thus, change its implicit relationship with science. Originality/value: The paper presents a novel way to conceptualize historical cultures of strategic management via their connection with academic cultures that have historically emerged from science. Through the analysis here done, a possible candidate for a Kuhninan normal strategic management and its potential revolution will be suggested, based on the recognition of the inheritance of classical science and currently complexity theory in strategic management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-235
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Management History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Business studies
  • Classical science
  • Complexity
  • Culture
  • Reductionism
  • Strategic management
  • Strategy


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