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Professor Stephen Cummings

Area of specialisationStrategy
Faculty / key officeProfessor, Victoria University of Wellington
EducationPhD, Warwick Business School
BCA in Management and Marketing, Victoria University

International teaching and industry experience

Stephen Cummings is currently Professor of Management at Victoria University. Stephen has taught strategy all over the world: in Australia (Melbourne Business School), the United Kingdom (Warwick Business School), France (ENPC Paris), Belgium (Vlerick Business School), Sweden (Stockholm University), Morocco (EHTP Casablanca), Canada (Carleton University), Ireland (Trinity College Dublin) and China (CUHK Hong Kong and PKU Beijing). In 2009, he was awarded 'Outstanding MBA Teacher' at Warwick Business School.

Stephen has been awarded 'best paper' prizes at the Academy of Management in 2008, 2014 and 2015, and his work has been published in many top international journals. His recent article Unfreezing change as three steps (with Todd Bridgman and Kenneth Brown), has become one of Human Relations three most downloaded articles of the past 70 years. The article is explained in this video:

An explaination of Unfreezing change as three steps (YouTube)

He is currently the Academic Fellow at Large for the Teaching Division of the Strategic Management Society. He has also been widely engaged in consulting and advisory work and is New Zealand’s only Academic Fellow of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes.

In addition, Stephen has developed executive courses for a range of public and private sector organizations, including Philips, HSBC, The Financial Times, GKN Westland, Prudential, Air Services Australia and Callaghan Innovation, and his frameworks such as the Next Practice Matrix, and Six Degrees of Strategic Innovation are widely used by management consultants. In 2013, The Financial Times named the Orientation-Animation Matrix (developed with David Wilson) one of the top strategy frameworks of the past 50 years.

Reasons Stephen enjoys teaching in the MBA programme

After 50 years, the MBA education is still at the cutting edge of how people develop the skills to move from functional level to middle and top level management. It is still the best way to gain the wide knowledge necessary to be able to see and understand a whole business, rather than just part of one. And Stephen believes that the ability to think strategically must be at the core of a rising manager's skill set.

Global perspective in his teaching

Stephen uses an international acclaimed and innovative textbook developed by himself and his international colleagues. This book covers the latest research on how people learn most effectively and case examples from around the world, many of which the Stephen has been personally involved with.

His latest book, Strategy Builder (Wiley, 2015), shows how it can be more effective to draw a strategy than write or speak it. The associated app, StrategyBlocksBuilder, can be downloaded from

He is the author or co-author of a number of other books including Recreating Strategy (Sage, 2002), Images of Strategy (Blackwell, 2003), Creative Strategy: Reconnecting Business and Innovation (Wiley, 2010), The Strategy Pathfinder (Wiley, 2011), the Handbook of Management and Creativity (Edward Elgar, 2014) and the forthcoming A New History of Management (Cambridge University Press). His books have been translated into Chinese, Danish, Korean, Persian and Russian language editions.