Why no academic discipline studies strategy
And J.C. Wylie's approach to studying the most important subject there ever was
We study bugs. We study trees and forests. We study people and culture and history. Why not strategy?
Some would say we do, for example, in military organizations and schools. Nearly all those are courses covering case studies of the past, which is essentially a story about a past strategy that went well or ill. That can be helpful to the student in that they learn what came before. Having a working knowledge of the history of strategy in a given field is helpful.
But this is not the same as studying strategy. Imagine a medical school where the students only read about past surgeries, and never practiced with patients or held the scalpel themselves. Or a law school where the students only read about past cases, never advocated for a plaintiff or defendant themselves. A civil engineer who read about the Brooklyn Bridge and Panama Canal projects, and that’s it. Limited, right?
When it comes to strategy, it seems we’ve fractured the focused study of success into so many fields that we’ve divided and conquered the entire endeavor.