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Topic  Self-

5 management at
Multiple Levels
LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Explain the application of strategic management at the school level;
2. Discuss the activities involved in self-management at the school,
group, and individual levels;
3. Evaluate the readiness of schools to undertake self-management;
and
4. Explain the relationship of self-management to school effectiveness.

 INTRODUCTION
In Topic 4, we introduced you to the basic tenets of school-based management.
Can you recall some of the characteristics of school-based management? Then,
you will also remember that the advantage of school-based management is that it
provides the right conditions for schools to plan and develop strategies for
dynamic effectiveness in all aspects of the school operations.

In this topic, we will still be focusing on school-based management. However, we


will take our discussion one step further by integrating the characteristics of
school-based management with the basic principles of strategic management and
self-management at school, group, and individual levels, to obtain a holistic view
of the advantages of school-based management. Let us start our discussion by
understanding why we need to understand decentralisation or self-management
at all three levels, instead of focusing only on self-management at the school
level. This will be followed by a close-up on how self-management affects each of
the three levels.

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ACTIVITY 5.1
1. Do you think that self-management occurs at different levels in a
school environment? Explain.

2. Why do you think that self-management is an important aspect of


the teaching profession? Give reasons for your answer.

5.1 THE NEED FOR MULTI-LEVEL


PERSPECTIVE
Most discussions on school-based management focus on decentralisation or self-
management at the school level, with the assumption that the quality of
educational outcomes will be enhanced, because schools will become more
effective as they are given more responsibilities and autonomy to manage their
internal operations. What is your opinion on this matter?

Before you come to your own conclusions about how school-based management
affects educational outcomes, let us look at some of the views in the next few
subtopics presented by researchers in this field.

5.1.1 The Effects of School-based Management


There are different perspectives on how school-based management affects school
functions, because different researchers tend to focus on different elements of
school processes. Let us take a closer look at some of them:

(a) School-based management is effective in increasing the satisfaction level of


teachers, parents, and students. It also helps teachers to improve their level
of professionalism (Brown, 1990; Collins and Hanson, 1991; David, 1989
cited in Cheng, 1996); and

(b) Other researchers feel that there is no empirical evidence that positively
links school-based management to student outcomes. In fact, some writers
found increased levels of anxiety and workload in self-managed schools
(Arnott, Bullock and Thomas, 1992; Cheng, 1992; Malen, Ogawa and Kranz,
1990, Mitchell, 1991 cited in Cheng, 1996).

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5.1.2 A Multi-level Perspective of School-based


Management
Can you recall the different levels at which schools function? A multi-level
perspective of school-based management posits that school-based management
should help schools to become effectively self-managing, especially in terms of
staff performance and effectiveness at the school, group, and individual levels.
This is in line with the main purpose of school-based management which is to
ensure school effectiveness on multiple functions at different levels in a dynamic
manner (Cheng, 1996).

The contributions and initiatives of individual teachers or groups of staff in a


school are indicators of effectiveness of schoolsÊ internal processes. Furthermore,
some writers also believe that teachersÊ abilities to conduct their own affairs can
be considered a form of self-management. However, we need to take a closer
look at self-management at the school level, the group level, and the individual
and staff level. Only then can we fully understand what school-based
management is all about.

ACTIVITY 5.2
If you were a school leader, would you encourage the school personnel
to participate in decision making at the school level? Why?

5.2 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT


In Topic 4, we have discussed in detail the main purpose of the school-based
management movement. Do you remember what they are? The aims can be
summarised as follows (as depicted in Figure 5.1):

Figure 5.1: The main purpose of the school-based management movement


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One way schools can achieve these aims is by practising strategic management.
This is a process that keeps schools aligned with its environment, helps schools to
improve their performance, to achieve their objectives, and to continuously grow.

Let us begin by looking at several workable definitions of strategic management.

Strategic management is a cyclic process which consists of five stages:


environmental analysis, planning and structuring, staffing and direction,
implementing and monitoring, and evaluation.
Cheng (1994)

Strategic management is the process of managing the pursuit of organisational


mission while managing the relationship of the organisation to its environment.
James M. Higgins (1992)

Strategic management consists of the analysis, decision, and actions an


organisation undertakes to create and sustain competitive advantages.
Dess, Lumpkin and Taylor (2005)

It is a process by which an organisation establishes its objectives, formulates


actions (strategies) designed to meet these objectives in the desired timescale,
implements the actions, and assesses progress and results.
Thompson and Martin (2010)

ACTIVITY 5.3

Now that you have read through the definitions of strategic


management, can you list down the main differences between strategic
management and traditional management?

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5.2.1 The Strategic Management Process


Look at the definitions of strategic management again. Can you pick out a
common theme among all the definitions? All the definitions refer to strategic
management as a „process.‰ In this subtopic, we will go through the strategic
management process in detail. We will look at the main components of strategic
management and relate them to the internal operations of schools.

What is the strategic management process? David (2009) defines it simply as


shown in Figure 5.2:

Figure 5.2: The strategic management process


Source: David (2009)

The way strategies are created, developed and implemented may differ
according to the functions and needs of an organisation. Therefore, there are
many different models or frameworks of the strategic management process.
These are based on leadership style and the experiences that a particular
organisation has had in creating strategies that work effectively. However, we
must keep in mind that every model or framework has its benefits and
drawbacks. It is up to the organisation to choose a model or framework that best
fits its goals. Now let us take a closer look at one of the models of the strategic
management process. Figure 5.3 lays out the fundamentals of DavidÊs Model of
the Strategic Management Process.

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Figure 5.3: DavidÊs model of the strategic management process


Source: David (2009)

This model or framework shows all the major steps that need to be taken during
the process, and also indicates that the process is a continuous activity. If you
look closely, you will see that the arrows show a two way process, which means
an organisation may go a step or two back during the process. This means, if the
leader realises that one of the strategies chosen is not suitable, he or she can go
back to that point and make changes, instead of completing the process and then
starting all over again from the beginning.

The drawback is that it does not clearly differentiate the strategy evaluation and
the strategy monitoring stage, which may cause some confusion. Besides that,
this model places emphasis on the strategy formulation stage.

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David (2009) has proposed the following stages in the strategic management
process (as shown in Figure 5.4):

Figure 5.4: Stages in the strategic management process


Source: David (2009)

The steps recommended in this model are as depicted in Figure 5.5:

Figure 5.5: Steps recommended in the strategic management process


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You can also look up at other models or frameworks of the strategic


management process, for instance, RothaermelÊs (2012) The Analysis-
Formulation-Implementation (AFI), Strategy Framework, and ThompsonÊs and
MartinÊs (2010) Strategic Management Framework, and compare their benefits
and drawbacks to obtain a better understanding of the strategic management
process.

5.3 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS


Although strategic management has its origins in business, the processes
involved can also be adapted to suit the school environment. In the following
subtopics, we will look closely at how self-management at the school, group, and
individual levels can be more successful by utilising the process of strategic
management.

Cheng (1996) suggests that effective self-management in schools can only be


realised through the performance of the school as a whole entity, and membersÊ
performance in a group and as individuals. Therefore, in the next subtopics, we
will take a closer look at all three levels of self-management in relation to the
strategic management process.

5.3.1 The Concept of the Self-managing School


By now you must have realised that the term „self-management‰ is a common
feature in this topic. Self-management is a major feature of a self-managing
school. Can you explain the major characteristics of a self-managing school? Let
us look at the definition provided by Caldwell and Spinks (1998, p. 4ă5), to help
you to understand the concept of a self-managing school:

„A self-managing school is a school in a system of education to which there


has been decentralised a significant amount of authority and responsibility
to make decisions on the allocation of resources within a centrally
determined framework of goals, policies, standards and accountabilities.
Resources are defined broadly to include knowledge, technology, power,
material, people, time, assessment, information, and finance.‰

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You must also remember that a self-managed school (Caldwell and Spinks, 1998)
has certain characteristics. This can be seen in Figure 5.6:

Figure 5.6: Characteristics of a Self-Managed School


Source: Caldwell and Spinks (1998)

5.3.2 Self-management at the School Level


Strategic management is made up of several components such as environmental
analysis, the cyclic process, planning, structuring, staffing, directing, monitoring,
and evaluating. It is the environmental analysis and the cyclic process that set
strategic management apart from traditional approaches to management.

In the last subtopic, we discussed the strategic management process and its
components in a general manner. Now we will look at the relationship between
the strategic management process and self-management at the school level.

According to Cheng (1996), self-management at the school level must be based


on the strategic management process, which is summarised in Figure 5.7.

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Figure 5.7: Strategic management process: self-management at the school level


Source: Cheng (1996)

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Now let us discuss each of the five stages in ChengÊs (1996) framework, and see
how these stages can collectively help to improve school performance and help
the school to achieve its goals (as depicted in Figure 5.8):

Figure 5.8: Five Stages in ChengÊs (1996) Framework

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The five stages in the strategic management process are ordered in a particular
sequence, and each stage provides the base for the next stage of the process.
Within the school context, Cheng (1996) refers to strategic management as „self-
propelling and cyclic in nature‰, and this allows schools to adapt to the dynamic
internal and external environments more effectively. He summarises the major
characteristics of this cycle in Table 5.1.

Benefits of Strategic Management to Schools


As stated, Figure 5.9 is a summary of some of its advantages (Cheng, 1996):

Figure 5.9: Advantages of strategic management to schools


Source: Cheng (1996)

ACTIVITY 5.4

Do you think every school has the potential to effectively practise self-
management?

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5.3.3 Self-management at the Group Level


A strong movement towards the development of staff self-management in other
fields, particularly in the corporate world in the last 20 years, has also affected
the development of staff management approaches in the field of education.

To a great extent, teaching is considered a highly autonomous profession which


is subject to a loose form of supervision from the principals or other relevant
authorities. Hence, we may conclude that school staff, to a certain degree are self-
managed whether as a group or as individuals.

A work group is a small organisation in a school. Therefore, self-management at


a work group level undergoes the same cyclic self-management process as that of
the school level. This process, which is also referred to as group self-management
is also presented in Table 5.1:

Table 5.1: Self-management Process at Different Levels

Stages of
Process at the School Level Process at the Group Level
Self-management
Environmental  Reflects on the schoolÊs  Reflects on the groupÊs
Analysis internal and external internal and external
environment crucial to its environment crucial to its
existence. existence.
 Focuses on its strength,  Focuses on its strength and
weakness, opportunities, weakness, opportunities,
and threats as a school. and threats as a group
Planning and  Develops school mission,  Develops groupÊs direction
Structuring policies and action plans. and action plans consistent
 Negotiation and with the schoolÊs mission
compromise in decision. and policies.
 Focuses on structural issues  Negotiation and
such as organisational compromise in decision.
structure, budgeting, and  Focuses on issues like work
allocation of resources. designs, relationship
delineation, and
communication flows.
Staffing and  Recruitment and  Deployment of members.
Directing deployment of staff.  Focuses on professional
 Focuses on human resource development of members
aspects of management such and group learning.
as staff development and
delegation.

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Implementing  Ensures the availability of  Ensures the proper


necessary resource, guidance allocation of resources.
and support.  Ensures mutual guidance
 Focuses on issues related to and support among
actual launching of all members to facilitate
programmes. effective problem solving.
 Focuses on programme
implementation by the
group.
Monitoring and  Sets up work standards,  Sets up work standards for
evaluating monitors and regulate pace members, self-monitors and
of programme regulates work pace of the
implementation. group.
 Evaluates the whole school  Evaluates performance of
performance. the group as a whole.
 Focuses on ensuring quality  Focuses on ensuring the
of programmes. group performance in
 Uses information to initiate delivering programmes.
next cycle of school self-  Uses information to initiate
management. the next cycle of group self-
management.

Source: Cheng (1996)

The group self-management also goes through the five stages of the strategic
management process. After reflecting on the results of the environmental
analysis in the self-management cycle, the self-managing group plans its course
of action. It develops its mission and goals which are aligned with the goals of
the school, plans activities and determines group dynamics. This is followed by
staffing which is carried out based on the available manpower. The emphasis
during the implementation stage is on ensuring the effectiveness of educational
programmes, which are monitored and evaluated based on predetermined
quality standards.

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Group self-management is defined by its own set of characteristics, which can be


summarised as follows:

Figure 5.10: Definition of group self-management

According to Cheng (1996), group self-management processes are generally


effective because of school managementÊs roles (as depicted in Figure 5.11):

Figure 5.11: School managementÊs roles in making the group self-management processes
effective
Source: Cheng (1996)

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5.3.4 Self-management at the Individual Level


An important component of the self-managing group is the self-managing
individuals who make up the group and its effectiveness. Self-management at the
individual level can be determined by following the same self-management
process at school and group levels. This would prepare individuals to be
responsive to changes within their internal and external environments. The key
concern here is the continuous learning of individuals.

Cheng (1996) uses the term individual self-management to refer to self-


management at the individual level. It is a cyclic process which is comparable to
the group self-management process. At the environmental analysis stage, the
internal environment refers to the individualsÊ personal attributes, their personal
competence, goals, and values and beliefs about education and management.

At the planning and structuring stage, individuals reflect on their own direction
and course of action, within the framework of the group and school policies.
They create their own work schedules and procedures, and establish good
rapport with their colleagues, students, parents, and the community. The
individuals then make the necessary preparations to accomplish their tasks.
Individuals also focus on their own professional development to ensure they
are well equipped with the competencies needed to face the challenges of the
external environment. Self-managing staff also use reward and punishment to
motivate themselves in the process.

Personal performance is the focus at the implementation stage where individuals


set their own performance standards and work pace, and use these to monitor
and evaluate their own performance. Their goal is to achieve high personal
performance. The self-evaluation process also serves as a basis for the next self-
management cycle.

You may refer to Table 5.1 for the main characteristics of individual self-
management. The benefit of the self-management cycle is that it allows
individuals to identify their strengths and limitations, and make the necessary
adjustments to ensure they carry out the tasks given effectively. The individual
staff members play an important role in ensuring the success of the work group
and the entire school in general. Therefore, individual self-management is the
basis for self-management at the group level.

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5.3.5 Self-management at Multi-levels


In the previous subtopics we talked about self-management at the school, group,
and individual levels. Cheng (1996) believes that self-management at all levels is
important in order to implement effective school-based self-management. This is
because the different levels play complementary roles to ensure the success of
self-management.

If we were to look at the five stages of the self-management cycle, we can


conclude that the results of the school-level environmental analysis will affect the
direction of the group and individual level self-management. Similarly, the
planning and structuring stage at the school level will influence the activities of
the group and individual levels.

In other words, „each stage of the self-management cycle at an upper level has
downward influences on a lower level cycle‰ (Cheng, 1996). However, we need
to bear in mind that the influence does not only happen downward, as an
upward influence is also possible. Therefore, efforts to achieve effective school-
based management must be supported by a certain degree of consistency among
the different levels of self-management in school.

Cheng (1996) maintains that besides an upward or downward influence, sideway


influence is also possible at the group and individual levels. This is the outcome
of inter- and intra-group interactions which can have a positive impact on the
implementation of self-management in schools, provided the effects of these
interactions are identified and handled effectively.

ACTIVITY 5.5

Do you think every school has the potential to effectively practise self-
management? Discuss with your coursemates.

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5.4 CONDITIONS FOR FACILITATING


SELF-MANAGEMENT
In the previous subtopics, we looked at how school-based management can
positively affect schools by integrating the concepts of strategic management and
self-management at the school, group, and individual levels. Do you know that
effective self-management does not naturally happen in any school environment?
It only happens when certain conditions are met by the school, and these
conditions make it possible for self-management to be implemented at all levels.
Let us look at some of the preconditions suggested by Cheng (1996), as depicted
in Figure 5.12.

Figure 5.12: Preconditions of self-management


Source: Cheng (1996)

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5.4.1 Conditions at the School Level


(a) Participative Decision Making

(i) Mechanism for participative decision making to encourage sense of


ownership among staff members;

(ii) Setting up school management council made up of teachers and


parents;

(iii) School administration committee comprising the principal, chairperson,


and unit heads to decide on school affairs;

(iv) Committees to serve other purposes based on core activities of school;


and

(v) Access to relevant information to help decision making.

(b) Instructional Autonomy

(i) Autonomy in curriculum and instructional design and delivery; and

(ii) Flexible use of different types of resources by teachers within a


predetermined boundary.

(c) Open and Autonomous School-culture


Existence of an open and autonomous school culture as a guide to school
and staff to implement self-management.

(d) Strategic Leadership

(i) To initiate and direct the strategic management process; and

(ii) Covers technical, human, political, cultural, and educational leadership


aspects that can contribute toward the strategic management process.

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5.4.2 Conditions at the Group and Individual Levels


(a) Affective Conditions

(i) Affective readiness of individual staff and group is vital; and

(ii) Individuals and groups must be prepared to accept the increased


responsibilities that come with self-management.

(b) Cognitive Conditions


Individual staff and groups need to have shared values towards delivery of
educational services.

(c) Behavioural Conditions

(i) Individual group members must possess self-management competence


and professional competence;

(ii) Self-management competence refers to competent behaviour of


teachers in goal setting, and constructive-thought building; and

(iii) Professional competency refers to the competence mastery of


professional knowledge and process.

The prerequisites at school level must be met to ensure effective group and
individual level self-management. This is important because self-management at
the group or individual levels will become less effective, if the school fails to
meet any of the conditions that facilitate self-management.

5.5 SELF-MANAGEMENT AND SCHOOL


EFFECTIVENESS

ACTIVITY 5.6
Can you identify common features between each model of school
effectiveness and the self-management process? What is your opinion
on the models of effectiveness and the self-management mechanism
complementing each other?

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In this subtopic, we will discuss the positive effects of self-management at


different levels, in relation to the different models of school effectiveness. Can
you list down the different models of school effectiveness? To refresh your
memory, given below are the eight models of school effectiveness.

Figure 5.13: How self-management adds value to each model of school effectiveness

Let us now examine how self-management adds value to each model of school
effectiveness.

(a) The Goal Model


It adds to the strength of this model because school goals need not only
to be planned in advance, but also be reviewed and adjusted after
implementation and the cyclic process of environmental analysis.

(b) The Resource-input Model


Environmental analysis and strategic planning in the strategic management
process help schools to develop suitable strategies to obtain more resources,
which are a vital feature of this model.

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(c) The Process Model


The main concerns of this model are addressed by the cyclic process of
monitoring, evaluating, and analysing the school environment to detect
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at different levels. This
helps to improve performance of individuals, groups, and schools.

(d) The Satisfaction Model


One of the features of self-management is active participation of school
constituencies in decision making at the school level, which leads to higher
levels of satisfaction among constituencies. Hence, a major concern of this
model can be successfully met.

(e) The Legitimacy Model


The cyclic components of school self-management such as environmental
analysis, development planning, monitoring, and evaluation helps increase
schoolsÊ accountability to the public. In line with the main principles of this
model, schools can establish good rapport with the public, and enhance its
image and status in the community.

(f) The Ineffectiveness Model


Ineffective school practices can be identified by the last component of the
self-managing process, which regularly calls for information to improve
performance, solving problems, and minimising challenges at the different
levels in school. This in return, fulfils the major requirement of this model.

(g) The Organisational Learning Model


The self-managing process is a continuous learning process that creates
awareness of the changing environment and educational needs at all levels
in school, to make the whole school more effective. This directly fulfils the
major focus of this model.

(h) The Total Quality Management Model


This model integrates the major features of all the other models of school
effectiveness. Since the self-management process contributes to all these
models, we can safely assume that it is in line with the principles of total
quality management.

At this point, we can conclude that the underlying principles of all the models of
school effectiveness are reflected in the self-management process. As a result, if
all the necessary conditions are met at all the different levels, self-management
can definitely be used as a mechanism to increase school effectiveness.

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SELF-CHECK 5.1
1. Explain the strategic management process within the environment
of a self-managed school.

2. How do individual staff members and work groups contribute


toward school effectiveness?

3. How can schools ensure that the preconditions for successful


implementation of self-management are fulfilled?

 Most discussions on school-based management focus on decentralisation or


self-management only at the school level, based on the assumption that self-
management automatically leads to effectiveness.

 There are different perspectives on how school-based management affects


school functions, because different researchers tend to focus on different
elements of school processes.

 A multi-level perspective of school-based management posits that school-


based management should help schools to become effectively self-managing,
especially in terms of staff performance and effectiveness at the school,
group, and individual levels.

 One way schools can achieve these aims is by practising strategic


management, which is a process that helps schools to continuously grow.

 Therefore, there are many different models or frameworks of the strategic


management process.

 Although strategic management has its origins in business, the processes


involved can also be adapted to suit the school environment.

 Self-management at the school level must be based on the strategic


management process.

 Group self-management undergoes a cyclic self-management process that is


similar to the school level.

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TOPIC 5 SELF-MANAGEMENT AT MULTIPLE LEVELS  101

 Indiv
vidual self-m
management can be deteermined by following the
t self-
manaagement proccess at school and group leevels.

 Efforrts to achieve effective scho


ool-based maanagement mu ust be supporrted by a
certaain degree of consistency among
a the diifferent levelss of self-management
in schhool.

 Effecctive self-ma
anagement does
d not naaturally happ pen in any
y school
envirronment. It on
nly happens when certain
n conditions are
a met by thee school,
and these cond ditions makee it possiblle for self-m managementt to be
implemented at alll levels.

 The underlying principles off all the mo odels of scho


ool effectiven
ness are
refleccted in the sellf-managemeent process.

 If all the necesssary conditio


ons are met at all the different
d leveels, self-
manaagement can n definitely be
b used as a mechanism m to increasee school
effectiveness.

Cyclic process
p Multi-level persp
pective
Environ
nmental analy
ysis Plan
nning and Strructuring
Group self-managem
s ment Selff-managemen
nt
Implem
menting Selff-managing scchool
Individ
dual self-mana
agement Stafffing and direecting
Monitoring and evalluation Straategic manageement

Caldwell, B. J. (2003
3). A theory of learning in the self-m managing scchool. In
Volansky, A., & Friedman n, I. (Eds). School-baseed managem ment: an
inte
ternational peerspective. Israel: Ministry of Education
n.

nks, J. M. (1998). Beyond the


Caldwell, B. J., & Spin t self-manaaging school. London:
Fallmer Press.

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Cheng, Y. C. (1996). School Effectiveness and school-based management: A


mechanism for development. London: Routledge.

David, F. R. (2009). Strategic management: concepts and cases (12th ed.). FT


Prentice Hall.

Dess, G. G, Lumpkin, G. T., & Taylor, M. L. (2005). Strategic management. NY:


McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Thompson, J., & Martin, F. (2010). Strategic Management: awareness and change.
UK: Cengage Learning EMEA.

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