Virtual Issue: Journal of Business Strategy

Journal of Business Strategy

This virtual issue of the Journal of Business Strategy, published in early 2021, typifies our approach to content. While the articles span a range of topics from innovation to disruption to managing M&A failure, they have in common a focus on the real world of business and issues that managers and executives encounter on a continued basis. Whether the paper discusses how some retail grocers are evolving successfully even as others shutter their doors, or how to measure real innovation over a long time period, JBS articles reflect our goal of advancing how business can use new information to improve performance. We include a column from Peter Hirsch, a principal at Ogilvy Growth & Innovation and a commentator on all things current whose brilliant writing regularly infuses the pages of JBS.

JBS is unique because it is not a traditional academic journal. We encourage articles to be written in plain language to appeal to business people as well as academics, thus bridging the divide between the two worlds. By contributing to JBS, authors can reach a broad international audience of practitioners and academics. The articles in this virtual issue reflect our commitment to readability, pertinence, originality, and application.  
This free access virtual special issue will be available until 31 May 2022.



Content and the customer: inbound ad strategies gain traction 
Kevin Lehnert, Sarah Goupil and Pete Brand
With the rise of digital marketing, search technology, blogging and podcasts, consumer access to information and content has exploded. This paper takes a critical look at one aspect of the change, inbound marketing, and the creation of content to drive engagement. Through the use of educational, innovative and informative content, inbound marketing is able to draw the customer into the firm voluntarily by understanding the buyer personas, strategic analysis and a formal plan for inbound content creation.

Surviving Disruption: The Grocer’s Tale
Amy Blitz
The US economy has undergone major disruption since the mid-1990s and continues to do so. Focusing on the retail grocery sector, this paper compares the divergent strategies and outcomes of three key players to identify approaches that work during turbulent times: A&P, Kroger, and Whole Foods. Successful companies understand the need for continual evolution and even reinvention as customers’ preferences and expectations. Firms must also commit to long-term investment, not just short-term profits or gains


The decade of innovation: from benchmarking to execution
Mark Klassen and Brooke C. Dobni
This article highlights the results of a global innovation survey from 407 organizations representing 33 countries. Ten key insights gauge the progress of innovation in organizations as well as the practice and success of nine innovation methods, including data analytics, design thinking and innovation metrics. Overall innovation scores have improved over the decade but organizations are still struggling with process drivers


Managing failure in the merger process: evidence from a case study
Anne-Sophie Thelisson
Most mergers end in failure, although that does not deter their proponents.  The author investigates the merger of two listed French companies over several years, providing new insights into failure during post-merger integration.  The article identifies trigger events in the merger process that prompted stakeholders to step in and resolve failures during the integration period. Managers acted as knowledge brokers and stakeholders deconstructed the organization to ensure its future.


Stigmatized products: how conflicting laws can influence decisions to proceed
Stephanie Geiger-Oneto, Betsy Gelb and Travis Simkins
Strategic decision-makers rarely take into account conflicting laws at different levels of jurisdiction, especially those related to stigmatized products. As examples, the authors use product categories from marijuana to single-use plastic bags, describing the conflicting laws that add to costs for marketers and consumers and add to uncertainty, legal expenses, and the cost of marketing a stigmatized product.

Turning open innovation into practice: trends in European corporates
Alberto Onetti
With open innovation becoming increasingly mainstream, European corporations are benefiting from a more agile business environment. Models and approaches of corporate-startup collaboration are continuously evolving. The author analyzed innovation leaders, a group of 31 large European large companies implementing effective corporate-startup collaboration, identifying six key areas of activities as well as barriers to achieving success.


Nikola Motors: a case study in bundling as a market entry strategy
Heejin Woo and Jake Grandy
By examining how a young entrepreneurial firm leverages bundling as a market entry strategy, this study suggests how a relatively vulnerable start-up can secure its position from a threat of resource-rich established competitors. The authors, through a qualitative investigation into Nikola Motors, a class 8 heavy-duty truck manufacturer based in Phoenix, Arizona, find that, instead of focusing on a single product, Nikola’s business model created an ecosystem leveraging partnerships with players in other areas.

US companies and political influence: how business can read the government landscape better
Michael Greiner and Jaegul Lee
Politicians are often perceived as motivated by money when, according to the authors, they are in fact motivated by ideology, their established relationships, and political trends among their constituents. Political decision-making in the US is constrained by this political landscape. Beyond traditional lobbying, businesses may be able to influence these factors through activism that pushes key government decision-makers to alter their positions.

The sorcerer’s apprentice
Peter B. Hirsch
Many companies created free-standing units to pursue promising innovations without needing to answer to corporate performance targets or being interfered with by established business unit goals. But while ad hoc teams can create value, their proliferation has had unintended consequences. Innovation teams need clear objectives, endorsement by top management and highly trained participants.