Strategy Forum / Panelist

Tobias Kretschmer

Munich School of Management

LMU Munich


Tobias Kretschmer is a professor of management at the Munich School of Management, where he is the head of the Institute for Strategy, Technology and Organization. Professor Kretschmer’s research interests include competitive strategy, network industries, organization design, and applied industrial organization.

Voting History

Statement Response
Digital platform companies like Uber and Netflix have lost their first-mover advantage. Disagree “Market-share figures tell a different story, as Uber and Netflix (and other recent trailblazing entrants) still dominate the markets they are active in. As these markets mature, however, there are imitators eroding their advantage and innovations making the initial market less profitable as a whole. The question will be how long these firms can protect their advantage through isolating mechanisms and whether they can reinvent their businesses — for instance, by using their installed base to launch new applications and business models.”
Online education and specialized degrees will supplant the traditional two-year full-time MBA.  Strongly agree “This trend is well underway already, especially outside North America. A growing focus on specific skills and rising demand for flexibility in timing and location will make modularized specialized programs and online education superior options for a more heterogeneous workforce than a fairly standardized product like the traditional MBA. Moreover, two-year full-time MBA degrees taken at a specific point in someone’s career are incompatible with the idea and ambition of lifelong learning and careers that do not follow an established linear trajectory.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Agree “Sanctions are another source of demand and supply chain uncertainty. However, the political will to impose sanctions is limited and varies across countries, as the hesitant response by, for example, Germany shows, adding another layer of uncertainty. On top of that, consumers will take the human rights record of firms into account in their decisions. Altogether, even if firms take no political stance on their own accord, they will have to increasingly include human rights protections and political instability in their supply chain considerations.”
Blockchain is more likely to be a sustaining innovation than a disruptive innovation in the financial sector. Strongly disagree “Blockchain reduces entry barriers (regulatory, capital requirements, reputation) in the financial sector. Existing players are no better placed than de novo entrants to adopt and implement this new technology, which will lead to a reshaping of the industry and the business models likely to succeed. If some of the large incumbents in the industry end up thriving in a blockchain-based world, it will be by accident, not by design or by virtue of the technology.”
The field of strategic management has overlooked the role of corporate purpose in driving business performance. Strongly agree “Strategic management research has a long tradition of gathering extensive data on firm characteristics — on structure, resources, market-facing characteristics, and ownership. Corporate purpose is missing completely. Does this matter? Just like firms need the right employees to implement their intended strategies, they also need their strategies to be in line with their purpose. Corporate purpose can create the “strategic fit” among activities needed for competitive advantage.”
Socially responsible mutual funds are more of a marketing tool than a solution to environmental and social problems. Strongly disagree “Socially responsible mutual funds are a device to bring together investors and firms with similar preferences and priorities. They are designed to alleviate a market imperfection and reduce the risk of investing in socially responsible businesses. As such, the fund owners (e.g., banks with other, pure-profit-oriented funds) do not matter as much as the firms and investors, which both benefit from socially responsible mutual funds. Much like socially responsible or microlending platforms, these funds help create a market where there previously was none.”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Strongly agree “Assuming it is consumer (or any third parties') data, companies have a duty of care vis-à-vis their partners. Hackers then represent a security risk like any other, which ultimately lies within the companies' responsibility. Regarding internal data, firms should perform an assessment of the ransom versus the potential damage from the data being released that determines the willingness to pay. However, given the growing importance of data for competitive advantage, chances are that companies will increasingly end up paying.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Disagree “Good business strategy has always considered contingencies, although maybe not ones as drastic as the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many businesses have been remarkably resilient and innovative in the crisis, showing that strategies can be developed, changed, and implemented in real time. If anything, the pandemic has shown firms the value of good strategizing and foresight. I suspect we might see an improvement in strategic decision-making in the next few years, but this will simply be badly managed firms catching up with practices the leaders have been using all along.”