Reaching Across the Market: The global dynamics of business-state relations, with Thomas Lawton, Professor of Strategic Management at Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, UK.Chapter 4,pp.346-380. The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government, Oxford University Press, 2010. Eds, David Coen, Wyn Grant, Graham Wilson

Business people increasingly ask “how can we make corporate strategy in such a volatile world?” An answer to the question requires us to take a more holistic approach to corporate strategy and company policy than we conventionally do when considering the challenges facing top management teams. Conventional strategy divides conveniently into three parts, like Caesar’s description of Gaul: first, the development and deployment of resources, competences and capabilities of the firm; second, dynamics and shifts in the firm’s market positions caused by customers and competition and by the goals, policies and actions of governments; and third, what both inquiries hold for the firm’s future. What is going on inside the corporation, within its value chain and its wider business ecosystem and in its existing and emergent markets, are certainly major drivers of corporate strategy. But corporate strategies have to be elaborated, and opportunities and risks assessed in full recognition of the dynamics at work in a world undergoing complex transformation. In this chapter, we take the position that strategy and policy must be seen as complementary because they provide a different lens to look on the future as the holism through which current resources in the firm are developed and allocated. In a static presentation of our theme – and where time is absent – we may say that business leaders need to develop a deeper understanding of the issues underpinning what we call the politics, markets and business triangle. We start with time as the key variable to consider, and sketch a stylized survey of how corporate strategy thinking has evolved, with a view to teasing out the key tensions that businesses encounter when operating in a semi-integrated world market and polity. We then look closer at the relation of corporate policies to the diversity of states, discuss the evolution of the global state and market system, and spell out some of the key challenges facing corporate leaders making strategies and policies to both shape and understand the future. This should condition their allocation of current scarce resources. The key parameter of risk for top management is by definition the exigency of dealing with a future about which little is known, but where some things can be learnt.

About Jonathan Story, Professor Emeritus, INSEAD

Jonathan Story is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1974, he worked in Brussels and Washington, where he obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has held the Marusi Chair of Global Business at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate Schoold of Business, Fordham University, New York. He is preparing a monograph on China’s impact on the world political economy, and another on a proposal for a contextual approach to business studies. He has a chapter forthcoming on the Euro crisis. His latest book is China UnCovered: What you need to know to do business in China, (FT/ Pearson’s, 2010) ( His previous books include “China: The Race to Market” (FT/Pearsons, 2003), The Frontiers of Fortune, (Pitman’s, 1999); and The Political Economy of Financial Integration in Europe : The Battle of the Systems,(MIT Press, 1998) on monetary union and financial markets in the EU, and co-authored with Ingo Walter of NYU. His books have been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. He is also a co-author in the Oxford Handbook on Business and Government(2010), and has contributed numerous chapters in books and articles in professional journals. He is a regular contributor to newspapers, and has been four times winner of the European Case Clearing House “Best Case of the Year” award. His latest cases detail hotel investments in Egypt and Argentina, as well as a women’s garment manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a Chinese auto parts producer. He teaches courses on international business and the global political economy. At the INSEAD campus, in Fontainebleau and Singapore, he has taught European and world politics, markets, and business in the MBA, and PhD programs. He has taught on INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Programme for the last three decades, as well as on other Executive Development and Company Specific courses. Jonathan Story works with governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. He is married with four children, and, now, thirteen grandchildren. Besides English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian, reads Portuguese and is learning Russian. He has a bass voice, and gives concerts, including Afro-American spirituals, Russian folk, classical opera and oratorio.
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