Strategy: A History. By LAWRENCE FREEDMAN. Oxford University Press, 2013, 768 pp. $34.95
Lawrence Freedman’s monumental new book is one the most significant works in the fields of international relations, strategic studies, and history to appear in exact years, so readers should know what it is and what it is not. Despite its size and ambition, this magnum opus is not comprehensive. Strategy is instead a deliberately selective look at an important term that gets bandied about so much as to become almost meaningless. Scholars now have a work that arrests that slackness.
Readers should also know that Freedman’s book does not focus on “grand strategy,” a Topic widely studied and a term often used to judge policymaking, since it concerns historical actors pursuing big ends. The index therefore contains no entry for the Roman Empire, and Freedman never discusses the grand strategies of such lasting players as the Ming dynasty, the Ottomans, King Philip II of Spain, the British Empire, or the Catholic Church. He does, however, tackle Satan’s strategy, in a dissection of Paradise Lost. There are diversions into literature, ancient myth, political theory, and the classics, and to the extent that they serve Freedman’s grander purpose of showing what strategy can sometimes be, the detours may be justified. But Freedman certainly likes to pick and choose, a tendency that can sometimes make it difficult for readers to follow the thread of his arguments even as readers move into the central sections.
Those sections are threefold -- “Strategies of Force,” “Strategy From Below,” and “Strategy From Above” -- and Strategy is best read as three separate books in one. As he has with everything else in this elaborate study, Freedman has chosen these titles carefully. Still, his idiosyncratic and even peremptory claim on meanings and the logical chain of his chapters remind one of Alice’s encounter with the arbitrary Red Queen: things are as the author says they are, whatever one may happen to think about whether a “from below” strategy is included in his “Strategies of Force” section. Yet the book still stands tall compared to the many lesser works on strategy and policy out there, which is why it will still stand out in ten or 20 years’ time.
WAR ON THE MIND
“Strategies of Force,” the largest of Freedman’s sections, comes the closest to a classic discussion of wars, campaigns, generals, and admirals. Yet rather than analyzing strategic campaigning on the battlefield, it mostly covers strategic theory about war. The book’s striking front cover, which shows a model of the Trojan horse, may trick bookstore browsers, but they will not find much about tactics, logistics, or the warrior ethos in the pages that follow.
“Strategies of Force,” moreover, begins only in 1815, after the Napoleonic era, when full-blown theories of war emerged in the Western world. In one crisp chapter, Freedman introduces the military theorists Carl von Clausewitz and Henri de Jomini, making the case that the two contrasting authors -- the former Prussian, the latter Swiss -- should be regarded as the founding fathers of modern strategic thought, as they both reflected on the larger meanings of the epic struggle for Europe that they witnessed. Whereas Jomini gave planners somewhat more mechanistic rules regarding battlefield leadership, distance, timing, and logistics, Clausewitz taught them to appreciate other, less measurable elements, such as passion, unpredictability, chance, and friction. It was Clausewitz, too, who taught that politics does not stop when the fighting begins and that statesmen had to gear that fighting toward a desired peace. No wonder generals and professors in the nineteenth-century railway age generally preferred Jomini, whereas their successors, shocked by the chaos of World War I, came to favor Clausewitz. Both authors made sense in their time, Freedman argues, and they both have their limits. But he himself prefers the nuance that runs through Clausewitz’s works.
None of the later strategic theorists would surpass this duo, although they would add newer data and experiences. Freedman takes readers through the succeeding schools of thought, offering fine descriptions of such figures as the German military thinkers Hans Delbrück and Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, the analysts of land and naval power Halford Mackinder and Alfred Thayer Mahan, the British strategists of armored warfare Basil Liddell Hart and J. F. C. Fuller, the theorists of the nuclear age Bernard Brodie and Herman Kahn, and, finally, the students of guerrilla conflicts Che Guevara and David Galula.
This list may sound obvious, like the contents of a standard introductory syllabus on strategic theory, but Freedman turns it into something much more valuable through his acute judgments and summaries. For example, although the section on Mahan does explain that author’s belief that the nation with the greatest fleet would control the seas, Freedman gives more space to a lesser-known naval strategist, Julian Corbett, because he prefers the latter’s emphasis on geographic position, communications, and trade to the former’s more simplistic study of great fleets and the Trafalgar-like encounters they engaged in. Generally, Freedman approves of theorists with a Corbettian approach, since no single strategist can comprehend all aspects of war and get it right; once a conflict erupts, calm judgment and careful reasoning will prove more useful than fixed mindsets. Appropriately, this section of Strategy ends with al Qaeda, an adversary that has demonstrated the importance of surprise, confusion, luck, and passion -- and the futility of trying to use a fixed strategy against it.
In “Strategy From Below,” Freedman shifts his attention to what he calls a “strategy for underdogs” -- although he focuses on only the post-1789 ones. Like so many other scholars before him, he accepts that the most important changes in modern history in the West came with the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Scholars of early modern history may find this cutoff irritating: surely, Martin Luther’s nailing of his theses to the door of a Wittenberg church in 1517 was nothing if not a strategy from below. The same can be said of the social and political revolutions that convulsed Europe around 1648, many of which took their most extreme forms in such bodies as the Levellers, that radical political movement in England.
Karl Marx, Freedman’s key author here, knew all about these earlier revolutionary movements, of course, but as Freedman explains, Marx saw his own movement as different. In addition to having a scientific precision, it would also have a clear destiny: the destruction of capitalism followed by the uniting of the world’s workers. It is precisely because Marx and his co-writer, Friedrich Engels, worked out a full-blown theory of revolution that Freedman can commence his second section in the early nineteenth century. After all, unlike the Marxists, the Levellers were archaic radicals who claimed no predictive powers. They wanted to smash church rood screens and extend popular sovereignty; the Marxists wanted to abolish class structures altogether. Once true international socialism was established, the thinking went, there would be no more underdogs.
Moreover, no later revolutionary movement would lose its way getting to that harmonious endpoint, because Marx and Engels had provided a road map throughout their writings, if only they were studied carefully and properly followed. But in the early nineteenth century, other socialist writers were providing different road maps, and even some of Marx’s own followers would deviate from his. Freedman displays his impressive acuteness and erudition in describing the various leaders of these movements -- just look at his impressive portrait of the nineteenth-century French libertarian Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Yet the story is a complicated one, and this part of the book flails around a lot.
The entry of Vladimir Lenin into this story, beginning with his return to Russia from exile in April 1917 to kick off the Bolshevik Revolution, returns purpose to the text. When Lenin dismounted his train at Petrograd’s Finland Station that month, he already had his own strategy: he would work with a small but strong Bolshevik core to quicken the Russian people’s revolution, employing the gun as well as the pulpit. The result was breathtaking. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and their cadre toppled the moderate regime that had already gotten rid of the tsar, and they created a Bolshevik state that managed to stay alive despite massive counterassaults from the West. Previous thinkers had written about change; these ones actually accomplished it. Here at last, the theory of overthrow from below was being turned into practice.
But if Lenin could both alter and accelerate the course of revolution, then so could his many admirers in later ages and foreign lands -- or so they hoped. Provided the end goal was the same, the means could be altered. Even in Lenin’s experience, the socialist cause often experienced setbacks followed by renewal, and sometimes, well-meaning comrades who failed to understand the urgency of things or who were too eager to compromise had to be smashed as thoroughly as the old order. This happened again when Joseph Stalin steadily took control of the Soviet state, exiled Trotsky (and then had him killed), and survived successive threats from the West, Poland, Japan, and even the Nazis. Exigency and flexibility were the name of the game. As early as 1925 (when some Western powers were beginning to recognize the Soviet Union), one could say that a strategy from below had actually worked. As a strategic success story, it ranks as one of the great narratives of the past 200 years.
But Freedman’s jerkiness again intrudes. Just when one expects his revolutionary tale to move on to Mao Zedong in China and Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam, Freedman turns instead to the German sociologist Max Weber, the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, the American social worker Jane Addams, and the American educational reformer John Dewey -- hardly firebrands. (For Mao and Giap, readers must go back to a chapter in the first section on guerrilla warfare.)
The post-Lenin part of “Strategy From Below” thus becomes an overwhelmingly American story, although with many other pieces added in. It mixes an account of the struggles of the United Automobile Workers in the United States with further discussions of revolutionary thinkers; invaluable vignettes of the Black Power crusade, civil rights, and feminism; a nifty chapter on Mohandas Gandhi and the strategy of nonviolence; summaries of the teachings of the philosophers Antonio Gramsci, Thomas Kuhn, and Michel Foucault; and a recounting of the opposition to the Vietnam War. Then, Freedman takes another remarkable turn, to analyze the successful political strategies of such Republicans as Ronald Reagan and his adviser Lee Atwater and the successful campaigns of Barack Obama.
This section of Freedman’s book does start strong -- how could it not, with Marx as its hero? -- but the many meanderings cost it strength and purpose. Moreover, the story of Marxism as a major historical phenomenon fits uneasily with the other, smaller crusades covered. It is easy to agree that the efforts of, say, the Black Power movement involved a strategy that was rooted in specific circumstances and strove toward specific ends that, once realized, meant success. It was indeed a strategy from below, as were Lenin’s grasp for power in 1917 and many of the revolutionary acts of later radicals. Yet Marxism itself was something larger, a total grand strategy that would never be realized until it had taken hold everywhere.
STRATEGY AT WORK
Freedman’s third book within a book bears the promising title “Strategy From Above,” although anyone looking for a quick survey of how great leaders carried out strategy will not find it here. Instead, this section concerns the rise and evolution of management, in theory and practice, from World War II to the present. “The focus is largely on business,” Freedman admits, and the players are modern managers, entrepreneurs, and theorists. In another example of Red Queen–like arbitrariness, Freedman focuses only on American business and the gurus who have provided it with new ideas. One can almost hear the Sorbonne intellectuals grinding their teeth at this hijacking. Aren’t their very different views of European state capitalism, the social welfare state, and the responsibilities of the firm of any interest? Yes, but only when they appear in an article in the Harvard Business Review.
That said, “Strategy From Above” is very good at what it does. So far as I know, there exists no equally succinct account and critique of American business strategy over the last seven decades. But the narrative goes back even further, to Taylorism -- the scientific approach to manual labor developed by Frederick Taylor in the 1880s -- and the innovations of Henry Ford at the turn of the century. As Freedman shows, Ford’s factories offered proof not only of a model for vastly enhanced production, thanks to the assembly line and the outsourced fabrication of many parts, but also of two larger things: the necessity of maintaining discipline within an organization and the vital role played by managers, who captain the ships on which ordinary workers toil.
The American business model of planned mass production would prove its value most dramatically with the advent of World War II. The U.S. system allowed Rosie the Riveter and her male counterparts to crank out ships, tanks, and airplanes far faster than the United States’ foes could destroy them. Having followed the new industrial model so wholeheartedly, the country emerged from the war as the greatest economic power of all time. All that was needed to keep growing after the war were better ways of explaining the model and newer ideas for improving it. And no book does a better job of describing the way in which management experts such as Alfred Chandler and Peter Drucker thought about companies and people, sometimes brushing aside or co-opting trade unions.
Freedman highlights two trends that changed American business in the postwar years. The first involves companies’ drive to find better and better methods of management in order to enhance their competitiveness -- a seductive idea, given all the evidence suggesting that the best-run firms, such as IBM, are usually the ones to survive and conquer. The high prophets of competitiveness have been extremely influential, and they have been rewarded with astonishing book sales. For example, Competitive Strategy, by the Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, has now been in print for 34 years.
The second trend is the arrival of rational choice theory at business schools and other parts of the American university. According to this remorselessly logical way of thought, all actors maximize their utility. Its early advocates contended that it could apply to all forms of managing, from running a business to fighting the Cold War, and this simple way of looking at things proved immensely popular, perhaps nowhere more so than in political science departments. In most of Strategy, Freedman sticks to neutral description, but in this particular debate, he seems to enjoy dissecting rational choice. After pointing out how genuine behavior deviates so frequently from what these models assume, he gently suggests, “The fact that they might be discussed mathematically did not put these theories on the same level as those in the natural sciences.”
This narrative of evolving ideas about management demonstrates once again Freedman’s hunch that no single comprehensive strategy can ever serve all purposes. In his view, it is futile to even search for such a theory, although that’s unlikely to stop social scientists from looking for one. It is equally likely that historians -- along with others who have witnessed what happens when theoretical strategies get mugged by reality, whether in business or in war -- will continue to prefer messier explanations of how things work. As Freedman argues, no strategy, however well it may work against a particular enemy or sell a particular product, is ever final, with a definite endpoint. Strategy is about how to get there; it is not about there.
Freedman’s book should prove useful to students, fellow scholars, denizens of think tanks, and those working in the strategy departments of large organizations and top-rank investment companies. (It is already required reading in the grand strategy class I co-teach at Yale.) Yet Strategy has two main defects.
First, its contents are unbalanced. The three-legged structure simply cannot stand on its own, because the third part lacks the historical importance of the other two. After all, in the first section, readers learn about Moltke the Elder’s profound thoughts on victory, and in the second section, they read of Stokely Carmichael’s wrenching calls for black power, yet in the third section, they get the Boston Consulting Group. The comedown is great.
Second, despite the universalistic claim of its title, Strategy gets more and more American as it goes on. The third book is simply all about the United States. Freedman justifies his focus by noting that “the United States has been not only the most powerful but also the most intellectually innovative country in exact times.” Perhaps this emphasis reflects the author’s own life and times. Born in England just after World War II, Freedman could hardly have avoided being influenced by the increasing Americanization of his world.
Like me, many readers may wonder where to place Strategy in their libraries. It obviously should not go next to my various encyclopedias, given its selectiveness. Nor does it belong beside my small collection of books on management and business. It could go near my section of works on Marxism, socialism, and revolutionaries, but Strategy covers a far larger territory. By process of elimination, I have had to place it with my books on war. Although it differs from them all, it will stand close to books by Clausewitz, Jomini, and Mahan and not far from the many writings of the British military historian Michael Howard, Freedman’s longtime mentor and predecessor in his chair at King’s College London. That is not a bad place in which to be found.
Business Analytics is the emergent capability for organizations in the twenty-first century. All organizations, regardless of industry, size, or operating environment generate and manage large volumes of data and information that, used well, inform the decision making and competitive capabilities of the enterprise. The emerging area of analytics is focused on using business data to examine what already happened, to determine or predict what will happen, and to explore or model what should happen. Successful managers across functional areas, whether finance, marketing, operations, human resources, or information systems, need to be able to understand and utilize business analytics in order to manage and lead effectively.
Business Analytics draws upon a portfolio of methods and tools including statistics, forecasting, experimental design, data mining, and modeling to turn data into information and insights. The business analytics field includes descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. Descriptive analytics help organizations describe what has happened in their operating environment and includes gathering, organizing, tabulating, and communicating historical information, e.g., how many online subscribers do we have? Predictive analytics helps organizations understand what to do by uncovering relationships and associations in the available data and uses techniques such as probability and forecasting to reveal the likelihood of outcomes. For example, the number of online subscribers increases when we have banner advertising on search sites. Prescriptive analytics is focused on understanding the causal effects that can be discerned from data sets and strives to predict what will happen, given a particular course of action. For example, if we increase our banner advertising and provide one-click subscribing, how will the number of subscribers change?
The Business Analytics co-concentration builds upon the Carroll School of Management core. The co-concentration is designed to align with a variety of functional disciplines making Business Analytics an excellent complement to other concentrations including Accounting, Operations Management, Finance, Marketing, Information Systems, or Management and Leadership.
The objectives of the undergraduate co-concentration are to develop managers who:
Rather than simply answering questions about what, how, when, and where things have happened, today’s business analysts are able to push the use of data further, find out why things are happening and what will happen if identified trends continue, and model how an organization can use this information to optimize outcomes. Careers that utilize the skills and knowledge of business analytics continue to emerge and grow in all fields and business disciplines. Students with this co-concentration may pursue careers in consulting, financial services, healthcare services, accountancy, technology management, government, manufacturing, and not-for-profit organizations. The demand for managers with these skills is strong and will increase as firms continue to recognize that they compete not only with new products and services, but also with a high degree of competence in managing their data, information, and business intelligence.
Business Analytics Co-Concentration Class of 2023
The following three courses are required for students co-concentrating in Business Analytics who belong to the class of 2023:
Select two additional courses, excluding any courses taken from above list:
Business Analytics Co-Concentration Classes of 2024 and Beyond
The following three courses are required for students co-concentrating in Business Analytics who belong to the class of 2024 and beyond:
Students must choose one of the following courses:
Students must choose two electives from the list below, where each elective comes from a different area of focus (Modeling, Data, or Applications).
The climate change and prescription drug law has revived a set of party goals that were widely thought to be dead.
By Michael Barbaro, Eric Krupke, Will Reid, Nina Feldman, Mooj Zadie, Rachelle Bonja, Rachel Quester, Marion Lozano, Brad Fisher and Chris Wood
Headed by distinguished professor of IIM, Prof. Prithvi Yadav:
The power of imagination can make us infinite, and he is the man who not only knows the way to victory but also knows how to construct the same. Prof. (Dr.) Prithvi Yadav has been a ‘distinguished Faculty’ of Operations and QT at IIM Indore, with a professional experience of over 22 years and Doctorate in Statistics (Optimality of Designs). He has a unique distinction of being awarded ‘National Merit Scholarship & Ten Outstanding Young India Award-99. He worked as a researcher with organizations like CREED (London), IVM (Amsterdam), World Bank, Govt. of U.P., Forest Dept., USAID & UNDP, Min. of Agriculture, Min. of HRD, Govt. of India etc., AMSB, Min. of Defense, Min. of Family & Welfare, Govt. of India, State Planning Board, Govt. of M.P. etc. So under the leadership of such a man there can never be a fallback.
Accreditations and approvals
Its not only important that you have confidence in your B-School but also important to check academic excellence, national & international accreditations & ratings by reputed organizations. GHS-IMR is AICTE approved and got A++ ratings by CRISIL in UP and A+ rating all over India. We are the second Institute in the state (except NCR) has been accorded the equivalence with MBA Degree of an Indian University by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). Students of GHS-IMR are fully entitled for any Govt job or higher studies from any university within India or abroad.
Faculty & Research
Quality of faculty resources and research initiatives in the institute are very crucial for quality of teaching. GHS-IMR faculty’s research contributions, case development, FDPs, Executive teachings & national/international conferences etc are key differentiators. Fellow (FPM) programme at GHS-IMR further enhances faculty’s research skills.
SAP & IBM CEBT Learning Centres
SAP certified professionals are highest paid in the industry and have more career choices, SAP module is compulsory in GHS-IMR and it is the first Management Institute in state to provide SAP & IBM CEBT learning modules.
Good industry linkage of your institute is very important because that will provide you greater opportunities to interact with corporate leaders on regular basis. GHS-IMR is member of JK Organization, founded more than 125 years ago, is India’s highly reputed conglomerate business house in diversified fields. More than 120 companies, which have been campus visitors for placements & 17 batches alumni’s strong network making GHS-IMR a well linked business school.
Always bear in mind that it is not the lifeless walls that make a institute what it is. It is the people there, the buzz they create and the experience they provide by just being themselves. So it is a must for every B-School seeker to interact with alumni and get a sneak peek of GHS-IMR’s strong and vibrant Alumni base. The first batch passed out in 1997 and since then our Alumni are growing and are working as CEOs in many corporate houses.
International Academic exchange
Corporate world, has become a global village today. We at GHS-IMR, train students to face global challenge and provide opportunity to go for international visits under academic exchange programmes for international exposure. GHS-IMR has academic exchange with University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol Business School, Bristol, UK; University of Science & Technology China (USTC) Hefei, China; University of KENT, Canterbury, UK, and College of business administration, University of Nebraska, Omaha, USA. GHS-IMR also has a unique dual degree program MoU with UWE, UK and UNO, USA.
It is evident that, in management school campuses, placement happens to be a key deciding factor. GHS-IMR has been offering 100% placements since its inception. The highest and average salary packages have been 8 & 4 lakhs respectively.
Nowadays, Corporates prefer socially sensitive leaders rather than simply business minded ones because of better adaptability in present cross cultural and cross national working environment. We take social initiatives in which students are deeply involved.
World class academic campus
The academic environment is the soul and heart of any business school. We at GHS-IMR focus on world class academic environment, zero pollution campus in the heart of the city, AC classrooms, auditorium, seminar & conference halls, fully wi-fi campus, hostel, gym and world class Library with LIBSYS7 and OPAC which making library accessible on a mouse click.
Incubation & Entrepreneurial Centre (IEC)
To supply yourself a chance to grow as an entrepreneur your B-School should facilitate you with incubation. Identifying the opportunities of incubation, GHS-IMR has established Incubation and Entrepreneurial Centre (IEC) with all essential facilities & support to incubate any new ideas in the starting phase.
The Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Management (PGDM) is two year, AICTE approved, full- time, programme. During the two years, the student receives academic inputs in two parts, namely, the Compulsory package and the Elective package. Distinct objectives are served by each package. Largely, the compulsory package will be in the first year and the elective packages would be in the second year. The input of the compulsory package is essential for all managers.
The aim of the compulsory package is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge, skills and techniques, contextual understanding, and overall perspective, necessary for general management' the mixture of compulsory and elective courses helps Students to develop an in depth understanding of the interrelationships crucial to successful business management. This enables them to be more effective in their jobs, while being sensitive to the issues and challenges confronting people in the other parts of the organization. ln the second year, students get a deeper understanding of areas of their interest through a package of elective courses. Second year students may choose to concentrate on particular Topics or areas of their interest. Since most of the students are likely to start their careers in one of the functional areas, the specialization in the second year helps build the special skills required for those areas. PGDM offers dual specialization in terms of major & minor. Students choose major & minor among; Marketing, Finance, Human Resources Management, information Technology, international Business and Operations Management & Decision Management. There are also a few compulsory courses in the second year. The second year courses have high project components so that students get more practical exposure. Following are the salient features in this institute that distinguish it from other management institutions:
A. Summer Training/ industrial tour during second year at various places in lndia and Abroad
B. Social Orientation
C.Information Technology Orientation
The Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (recognized by AICTE) is a full time program designed to meet the challenges of rapid changes in our society. It aims at training young dynamic minds into becoming entrepreneurial managers. With the above aim in view, the concept and courses of study have been formulated using "CAPABILITIES BUILDING" as the benchmark. While the course incorporates the essential theory, endeavour and thrust to make the total programme highly practice-oriented similar to that of a physician's education:
Training Methodology is a mix of lectures and case based discussions with high focus on self-learning and practice.
Teaching and designing of each course is carried out as per detailed course plan, designed in accordance with the syllabus.
Each course is aligned with current business environment to make the learning of the students more effective.
Proportion of marks that is awarded to the students is by assessment through 60% end term examination and 40% internal assessment.
Regular interaction with the industry experts provides a clear mind set to visualize the future working of the corporate sector.