Blackbeard is a case study by Jake Mosher and Russell Fralich.
This case tells the story of the pirate Blackbeard in his brief but infamous rise to notoriety between 1717 and 1718, and the challenges he faced as his power and influence on trade on the Eastern Seaboard grew. As the size of his enterprise increased, ensuring enough successful plunders to keep his men content, managing the health of crewmembers, and the growing awareness of the Royal Navy of his activities all became key challenges that Blackbeard needed to address.
This decision-making case is designed to introduce MBA and M.Sc. level students who may not have a business background to the basic concepts of strategic management. Core learning objectives:
- Strategy requires thinking about the « big picture » and as an organization, asking « why do we exist? »
- Strategy involves an ill-defined problem that requires considerable analysis to determine the « key problem » among multiple possibilities
- Strategy requires making decisions and acting on them
- New strategies emerge as the conditions in a firm’s internal or external environment change
- Selecting a strategy requires trades-offs
- Every plan has unintended consequences
Main themes covered
The objective of this case is to introduce students to some of the fundamental concepts of strategic management through illustrating a basic challenge that every organization faces: adapting strategy to manage growth.
Concepts and theories related to the case
- Andrews’ (1971) key questions for strategy
- Hambrick & Fredrickson’s (2001) key questions for strategy
- Porter’s (1986) definition of strategy
- Greiner’s (1998) organizational lifecycle challenges