• Professor Stadler nominated for his book on open strategy
  • The WBS academic says strategy is being revolutionsed by top firms
  • Likes of Unilever, Adidas and Barclays leading the move to open strategy
  • Thinkers50 awards seen as the most prestigious in management research  

A WBS academic has been nominated for the Distinguished Achievement Awards 2021 dubbed the “Oscars of management thinking”.

Thinkers50, the biennial global ranking of the world’s top management researchers and thinkers from industry and academia, has nominated Christian Stadler (pictured), Professor of Strategic Management, for the Thinkers50 Strategy Award.

Professor Stadler has been nominated alongside his co-authors Julia Hautz and Kurt Matzler, of the University of Innsbruck, and Stephan Friedrich von den Eichen, of the University of Bremen, for their ground-breaking book Open Strategy: Mastering Disruption from Outside the C-suite. 

Their book details how open strategy can help organisations navigate the uncertainty and complexities of a post-COVID world and reveals the steps needed to move the strategy-making process beyond the boardroom to bring in employees and other stakeholders.

“This is a huge honour,” said Professor Stadler. “The Thinkers50 awards have established themselves as the pre-eminent place to find out who are the thought leaders in their field.

“When I started to work on this book I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical that there was a way for companies to open up their strategy. Soon I realised that a revolution is on its way. Barclays, Unilever, Adidas, and the US Navy are among the pioneers of open strategy; involving front-line employees, experts, and suppliers to customers, entrepreneurs, and even competitors is the way forward.

“With so much disruption from the rapid evolution in technology, the interconnectivity of the internet age, plus the uncertainty brought to business by the global pandemic, it is no longer possible for a small group of executives to have a handle on everything.

“To stay on top of this ever-changing world we found that companies are staying ahead by opening up their strategy process to new perspectives and ideas from inside and outside their organisation.”

Every two years Thinkers50 announces the shortlists for its Distinguished Achievement Awards, which will go on to identify eight thinkers in each of the categories who have made an exceptional contribution over the last two years. Past winners have included such luminaries of management and business research as CK Prahalad, Clayton Christensen and Peter Drucker.

Described by the Financial Times as the “Oscars of management thinking”, this year’s awards marks the 20th anniversary since the inception of the Thinkers50 Ranking, with the winners due to be announced at a gala event on November 15 and 16.

Thinkers50 founders Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove said: “Our belief at Thinkers50 has always been that ideas can – and must be – a force for good in the world. 

"Fresh thinking drives the world forward and allows us to tackle some of the huge problems we now face. Early in the development of Thinkers50 we were inspired by the late CK Prahalad. CK’s book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid brought his considerable intellect to bear on an apparently intractable problem. It changed perceptions and created opportunities for some of the poorest people on earth.

“We believe that CK’s inspiration connects with many of the shortlisted thinkers of 2021. They are activists who want to make the world a better place whether that is through better understanding of technology, improving the quality of leadership in organisations, or broadening understanding of exciting concepts such as co-operative advantage. They are the thinkers the future demands.”