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Faculty & Research


Karel Cool

Professor of Strategic Management

The BP Chaired Professor of European Competitiveness


Additional Information
Research Areas
  • Sustainability as a Business Opportunity
  • Ecosystem Creation and Leadership
  • Creating Network Value in Platforms and Innovation Ecosystems, Leading Supply Chains for Competitive Advantage and Value Creation
Teaching Areas
  • Industry and Competitive Analysis (MBA elective)
  • Competitive Strategy (Executive Education)
  • Business Sustainability (Executive Education)


Karel Cool is a Professor of Strategy and the BP Chaired Professor of European Competitiveness at INSEAD. His competitive strategy research, teaching, and consulting focus on questions of industry dynamics and competitive positioning (e.g., assessment of profit opportunities in markets; constructing competitive advantage, supply chain dynamics and management; achieving eco-system leadership; vertical integration and de-integration; industry overcapacity; achieving critical mass in platforms and innovation ecosystems; the creation of standalone and network customer value). Karel Cool is directing the Competitive Strategy Executive Education programme. His research and teaching has focused in recent years on Sustainability as a Business Opportunity and is co-directing the new INSEAD Business Sustainability Programme.

He has published in many journals, including Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, Marketing Letters, Advances in Strategic Management, Journal of Supply Chain Management, etc.; co-edited books such as European Industrial Restructuring in the 1990s and Industry Structuring and Restructuring; and has contributed to many books on competitive strategy.

From 1995 to 2007 he was an Associate Editor of the Strategic Management Journal, a leading strategy journal.

He has consulted on major strategic issues of corporate and industry restructuring, and worked with various corporations including Unilever, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Daimler, Borealis, RollsRoyce, Exxon, Solvay, Novo-Nordisk Lufthansa, KBC, Whirlpool, IBM, Expedia, Banque de France, McKinsey, Starwood, BCG, Shell, ING, Aktiva, Amgen, Bayer, Nordea, World Economic Forum, KGL Kuwait, Hearst, Reynaers Aluminium, Ørsted / Dong Energy Wind Power, Vandemoortele, Mars, Illumina, Danfoss, Pictet, etc.

During the 1995-1996 academic year, he was a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. He was also for many years Visiting Professor at Northwestern University (Kellogg), and was co-chair of the 2002 Strategic Management Society Conference (Paris).

He is a seven-times winner of the Best Teaching Award in the MBA programme. In 2007 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society and in 2009 received the George S. Day Distinguished Alumni Academic Service Award from Purdue University.

In September 2014, he was honoured by the Case Center as one of the best-selling case authors over the past forty years — Karel has (co-)authored more than eighty case studies.

Karel Cool obtained his PhD (1985) and MScIA (1982) from Purdue University, and his MA (1981) and Lic (1978) in Applied Economics from the University of Antwerp (UFSIA).

Case Studies