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Books: Strategy for Business Advantage

By Kim Salisbury, CMA
May 1, 2017
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Composition with hardcover books in the library

According to Richard D’Aveni, hypercompetition between different forms of capitalism is now being observed on a global scale, and a disruptive competitive advantage must be generated in order for a nation to rise to the top.

 

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In his book Strategic Capitalism, D’Aveni summarizes his findings from years of strategic analyses, gives a thorough introduction to the four generic capitalist strategies (e.g., social-market, philanthropic, managed, laissez-faire), provides detailed insight into how mixes of these capitalist systems are found throughout the world, and ends with his plan for the United States to recapture its competitive capitalist advantage. The main point of the book is that the U.S. is currently waging a capitalist Cold War with China—and that the winner will set the rules of trade, finance, and economies to favor itself, its people, and its allies.

 

The first part of the book covers the four C’s of capitalist dynamics: competing, combining, controlling, and capturing. D’Aveni stresses the dynamics of capitalism through examples of how the four generic types of capitalism have been combined over the years in countries from India and Brazil to the United Kingdom and U.S. and how the economies of these countries responded to changes in capitalist structure. He also discusses how U.S. presidents have leaned toward different strategies, from Ronald Reagan’s laissez-faire tactics to Franklin Roosevelt’s social market inclinations.

 

The book covers what it then calls the four R’s of strategic capitalism: rebalancing, reinventing, reenergizing, and restructuring. With specific examples from around the globe, D’Aveni advocates for continual evaluation of our national capitalist structure to both react to changes in strategy from rivals and stay on the offense in the worldwide capitalist race. Stressing hypercompetitive thinking, D’Aveni illustrates how he thinks the U.S. can maintain its competitive advantage by reining in overstretch, reducing congressional power over commerce, setting national economic goals, and restoring self-sufficiency. He asserts, for example, that a national industrial policy could enable the U.S. government to prioritize specific industries and implement incentives for their success.

 

It’s important to stay informed and aware of the situation that surrounds us globally. In our increasingly global business environment, financial professionals must keep in mind the competitive forces acting on our industries and institutions from within our country and around the globe when evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

 

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Kim Salisbury, CMA, is academic budget officer at the University of Idaho and an IMA Member-at-Large. You can reach her at kims@uidaho.edu.
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