Corporate Portfolio Management: Appraising Four Decades of Academic Research

By Ulrich Pidun and Harald Rubner

Multibusiness companies remain the most prevalent form of organization around the world. Their dominance—in both mature and emerging markets—flies in the face of theoretical models and empirical studies asserting that corporate diversification destroys value.

Corporate portfolio management (CPM) is an essential part of corporate strategy. In academia, however, there are only a few, often outdated, studies that focus predominantly on CPM and the process of analyzing, reviewing, and managing the corporate portfolio. In short, academic research has not kept up with the realities and needs of the corporate world, and in particular with CPM practices.

Why the disinterest? And what can be done to advance current CPM concepts and instruments to address gaps in strategic management theory and management practice?

This paper originally appeared in the November 2011 edition of The Academy of Management Perspectives, which is published by the Academy of Management.