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Practicing Strategy: Text and Cases


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The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader in the field of practice-based approaches to the study of strategy and organization, including its rationale and emergence. These will provide a basis for a clear identification of the key topics covered in the practice approach and a review of the main concepts involved in a key perspective to understand the practice of strategy: the strategy-as-practice perspective. By decoding the key concepts around the strategy-as-practice approach we encourage an appreciation of the micro-level aspects of strategy making and execution. Such micro-level aspects are not only of interest from a scholarly perspective, but also critical in any strategic review and can help practitioners develop a more nuanced understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy-making and execution processes. Overall, the key objective of this introductory chapter is to help the reader appreciate the micro-level foundations of strategy making and execution.
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Learning Objectives
Provide a foundation to the rest of the book.
Assist readers to locate the strategy-as-practice within the debates in the strategic
management literature.
Present the key concepts that will form the backbone of the textbook (notably, the practitioners,
practices, and praxis framework).
1.1 The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader in the field of practice-based
approaches to the study of strategy and organization, including its rationale and emer-
gence. These will provide a basis for a clear identification of the key topics covered in the practice
approach and a review of the main concepts involved in a key perspective to understand the
practice of strategy: the strategy-as-practice perspective. By decoding the key concepts around
the strategy-as-practice approach we encourage an appreciation of the micro-level aspects of
strategy making and execution. Such micro-level aspects are not only of interest from a schol-
arly perspective, but also critical in any strategic review and can help practitioners develop a
more nuanced understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy-making and
execution processes. Overall, the key objective of this introductory chapter is to help the reader
appreciate the micro-level foundations of strategy making and execution.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
1.2 The field of strategic management is often divided into different schools of thought.
The planning and emergent schools are two fundamental schools that have shaped,
and still influence, many debates in academia and practice. Based on the work of Chandler
(1962), the planning (or rational) school considers strategy as the outcome of the sequential
activities of strategic analysis, development, and implementation. The emergent school, on the
other hand, led by Henry Mintzberg, considers strategy as not simply a plan but also a pattern
that emerges over time based on experimentation and discussion (Mintzberg, 1973, 1978,
1987; Mintzberg and Waters, 1985). Mintzberg notes that “organizations develop plans for
the future and they also evolve patterns out of their past” (1994: 24). Accordingly, strategy
is perceived as more than just an intended outcome based on a top-down procedure and as
a more complex, emergent, bottom-up process developed throughout the organization with
the participation of multiple organizational members. Based on the foundations of these two
schools, a number of frameworks have been developed concerned with the strategy-making
processes that firms follow. Combining the learning around strategy-making processes, Hart
(1992) developed an integrative framework consisting of five models (see Table 1.1). The main
advantage of this model is that it integrates many of the insights from pre-existing strategy
models by contrasting the roles of different management actors. In that way, strategy making
is viewed as an organization-wide phenomenon.
Alongside Hart, the Bower–Burgelman (BB) process model of strategy making (Burgelman,
1983, 2002) has been a milestone in strategy process research. Bower (1970) developed a
resource allocation process (RAP) model which was later modified and extended by Burgelman
in the early 1980s using rich empirical insights. The result was the BB process model (Bower
and Doz, 1979; Burgelman, 1983). The foundation of this process model was an evolutionary
framework of the strategy-making process in established firms (see Figure 1.1). Burgelman’s
primary goal was to show the interactions between strategic behavior, corporate context,
and the concept of corporate strategy. According to this model the strategy-making process is
determined through strategic behavior that either is induced by top management or develops
Autonomous strategic behavior introduces new categories for the definition of product or
market opportunities. It develops from the bottom up within a company and covers project-
championing efforts to mobilize corporate resources. Induced behavior on the other hand
represents the guiding character of strategy. “The induced process concerns initiatives that are
within the scope of the organization’s current strategy and build on existing organizational
learning” (Burgelman, 1991: 241).
Structural context determination means the top-down introduction of formal organizational
structures (information, evaluation, reward systems, etc.) to shape the selection of strategic
investments. Strategic context determination covers political activities of middle management that
aim at combining autonomous strategic behavior on the product-market level with the current
corporate strategy.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 3 3
What is interesting about Burgelman’s approach is that this autonomous process is perceived
as an integral part of the strategy-making process:
strategy making…involves keeping both processes (induced-autonomous) in play simultaneously at all times,
even though one process or the other may be more prominent at different times in a company’s evolution… A
company rationally tolerates autonomous strategic initiatives because such initiatives explore and potentially
extend the boundaries of the company’s competencies and opportunities. (Burgelman, 2002: 14–15)
A deeper appreciation of the behavioral aspects shaping the strategy-making process comes from
studies of managerial decision making. Miller and Friesen (1978) identified 11 strategy-making
process dimensions including, for example, adaptiveness, analysis, expertise, integration, innova-
tion, and risk taking. In his study, Fredrickson (1986) proposed dimensions such as proactiveness,
TABLE 1.1 Hart’s integrative framework
Factors Command Symbolic Rational Transactive Generative
Environment Simple; Low-
Dynamic; high
velocity or
radical change
Stable; Low
degree of
Complex; many
Dynamic and
Firm Size Small Medium-Large Medium-Large Large No relation
Stage of Firm
No relation Rapid growth;
Steady growth Mature No relation
No relation Proactive
(Prospector /
Solidify position
Descriptors Command Symbolic Rational Transactive Generative
Style (Imperial)
driven by
leader or small
top team
Strategy driven
by mission and
a vision of the
strategy driven
by formal
structure and
planning systems
strategy driven by
internal process
and mutual
driven by
actors’ initiative
Role of Top
Motivate and
(Boss) Evaluate
and control
Empower and
Endose and
Role of
(Soldier) Obey
Respond to
Follow the
Learn and
and take risks
Source: Hart (1992).
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
rationality, comprehensiveness, risk taking, and assertiveness. Despite such developments most
of our understanding of strategy making and execution has been mainly static, focusing on the
macro, organizational level. As a result, a new approach, focusing on the micro-aspects of strategy
or “strategizing,” has emerged.
1.3 As indicated previously, in the present strategic management literature there is a lim-
ited analytical vocabulary to describe how managers practice strategy; as well as limited
research attention to this topic as compared to the body of strategy scholarship, despite the emer-
gence of the strategy-as-practice approach. Traditionally, conceptual and theoretical dichotomies
within the strategy process area (think vs. act, content vs. process, micro vs. macro, rational
process vs. political process) have bounded our understanding with respect to the day-to-day
activities of strategy managers. Further, most process research has been fragmented, character-
ized by limited cumulative theory building and empirical testing (Rajagopalan et al., 1993).
Figure 1.2 summarizes the key areas in strategic content and process research presented
across the macro and micro levels. Most research has been carried out at the macro-content
level and to a lesser extent at the macro-process level. Accordingly, strategy academics realized
that there was a need for an area of research that deals specifically with the actions and interac-
tions of managers within and around the strategy process. The focus of such research is firmly
at the “micro” level of Figure 1.2. This theoretical and empirical challenge has been pursued by
researchers examining “strategizing” or “strategy-as-practice.”
Strategizing refers to the strategy work (Vaara and Whittington, 2012) and encompasses
all the continuous practices and processes through which strategy is conceived, maintained,
renewed, and executed. An explicit and widely agreed definition of strategizing does not exist in
the literature, however (the principal definitions are presented in Table 1.2). Strategizing focuses
Concept of
FIGURE 1.1 An evolutionary framework of the strategy-making process in established firms
Source: Adapted from Burgelman, 2002. Used with permission of Robert A. Burgelman.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 5 5
on the what, when, how, and why of making and executing strategy and demonstrates “the way
strategies unfold over time, that is the way strategies are developed, realized, reproduced and
transformed in an ongoing process” (Melin et al., 1999). Further, strategizing encapsulates the
micro-level activities through which organizational members construct and enact strategies by
utilizing both informal and formal means (Whittington, 1996). This approach also echoes the
argument by Balogun et al. that “most strategy research has been about know what, whereas
strategizing research looks for know how, know when and know where” (2003: 199).
Actors’ content
routines: e.g.
Actors’ process
e.g. away-days Activities/
e.g. planning
Processes: e.g.
strategic change
Field Practices
Strategies: e.g.
Strategies: e.g.
FIGURE 1.2 The micro and macro levels in strategic management research.
Adapted from: Whittington, Johnson and Melin (2004) Used with permission.
TABLE 1.2 Definitions of the term strategizing
Definition Source
“the detailed processes and practices which constitute the day-to-day activities
of organizational life and which relate to strategic outcomes” (2003:3).
Johnson, Melin and
Whittington (2003)
“the meeting, the talking, the form-filling and the number-crunching by
which strategy actually gets formulated and implemented” (1996:732).
Whittington (1996)
“The concept of strategizing emphasizes the micro-level processes and
practices involved as organizational members work to construct and enact
organizational strategies, through both formal and informal means” (2003:111).
Maitlis and Lawrence (2003)
“an organizational learning process…new strategies evolve over time, not
from discrete decisions but from indeterminate managerial behaviours
embedded in a complex social setting” (2000:87).
Floyd and Wooldridge (2000)
Source: Paroutis (2006).
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
1.4 Before we investigate in more detail the strategy-as-practice perspective, it is important
at this point to show how these macro and micro levels can be linked and what kind of
insights can be generated for managers. There have been a number of frameworks that link the
micro and macro levels. The model we present here is the ESCO model developed by Heracleous
et al. (2009) in their investigation of Singapore Airlines. We will examine this framework in great
detail in Chapter 9, but for the purposes of this introduction, we briefly outline the particular
model. As shown in Figure 1.3, it stands for: Environment (at various levels such as the competi-
tive, macroeconomic, and institutional), Strategy (at the business or corporate levels based on
the kind of analysis to be conducted), Competencies (the core competencies of the organization
that support the strategy), and Organization (the kinds of process, culture, structure, and people
that operate in an integrated way to deliver the firm’s core competencies). This model is scalable,
and could be applied at the corporate, divisional, business, or functional levels as appropriate.
Heracleous and his colleagues note that: “Competencies must be aligned with the strategy and
the organizational configuration must be aligned to deliver the desired competencies, all of this
must support the strategy, which must be right for the competitive environment” (2009: 172).
FIGURE 1.3 The ESCO model
Source: Heracleous, Wirtz, Pangarkar (2009).
Furthermore, according to Heracleous et al. (2009: 178–85) there can be a number of misalign-
ments based on analysis through the ESCO model, namely:
Strategy is out of line with external competitive environment.
Organization and competencies fail to support strategy.
Incompatibilities and tensions exist within the organization level.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 7 7
Reward misalignments, i.e., rewarding one thing but expecting another.
Failure to realign strategy and organization with environmental changes.
Misguided strategic actions leading to even greater misalignments.
The key message from this framework is that micro and macro levels are interrelated and man-
agers need to be aware of these links. The classic problem of the separation between strategy
formulation and strategy execution can be put in context when viewed from the perspective
of the ESCO framework. The framework confirms that unless the strategy is translated into
necessary competencies and appropriate organizational configuration, it will remain simply a
plan. Secondly, a strategy plan is incomplete and most probably ineffectual unless it contains
clear accountabilities and timeframes for the areas of competencies and organization. Finally,
the framework suggests that identifying and dealing with misalignments represents a key task
for the strategist.
1.5 Strategy-as-practice has been developed as an alternative perspective within the strategic
management domain. Taking a leaf from a classic paper on the study of organizational
culture (Smircich, 1983), this perspective recognizes that the traditional approach of the strategy
discipline has been to treat strategy as a property of organizations – something an organization
has. This has ignored that strategy is also something that executives do (Jarzabkowski, 2004).
In this way, the type of research conducted in the “Mintzberg studies” on the nature of mana-
gerial work that we touched upon at the start of this chapter becomes once more the focus of
the strategy field. According to strategy-as-practice scholars, there is a need to approach holisti-
cally “how managers and consultants act and interact in the whole strategy-making sequence”
(Whittington, 1996: 732) and develop studies that focus more solidly on the practitioners of
strategy (Angwin et al., 2009). As Johnson et al. stress: “In good part, the agenda for the micro-
strategy and strategizing perspective is set by the limitations against which the process tradition
has run” (2003: 13).
The strategy-as-practice perspective views strategizing “as a socially accomplished, situated
activity arising from the actions and interactions of multiple level actors” (Jarzabkowski,
2005: 6). Practice researchers try to uncover the detailed actions and interactions that, taken
together, over time constitute a strategy process (Paroutis and Pettigrew, 2007). Hence, the
strategy-as-practice approach favors managerial agency, situated action, and both strategy
stability and strategic change rather than focusing on a set of change events from a firm level
of analysis, as most process studies tend to do. In addition to this anthropological orienta-
tion, where scholars are invited to delve deep into organizations to engage with executives’
strategy activity in its intimate detail – sometimes described as “micro-strategy” (Johnson
et al., 2003) – this perspective is also mindful of the aggregations of strategic activity into a
bigger phenomenon.
Johnson et al. (2003) argued in favor of activity theory for studies investigating strategizing
practice, but as yet empirical investigations utilizing activity theory have not been widespread.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
According to activity theory, an organization can be regarded as an activity system comprising
three main constituents: actors, collective social structures, and the practical activities in which
they engage.
One of the first multi-level strategy-as-practice studies has been Jarzabkowski’s research of
three UK universities, which looked at the interaction between individual actions of top man-
agement team (TMT) actors and formal structures (Jarzabkowski, 2003; Jarzabkowski and
Wilson, 2002). Regnér (2003) also investigated managers representing multiple levels across
firms. His study of managerial actions at the center and the periphery of four multinational
organizations suggests “a twofold character of strategy creation, including fundamentally dif-
ferent strategy activities in the periphery and centre, reflecting their diverse location and social
embeddedness” (Regnér, 2003: 57). Further, Regnér’s study focuses on the distinctiveness
between central and peripheral managers and demonstrates “the great divide between periphery
and centre” (2003: 77).
There have also been a number of other studies focusing on the micro-level aspects of strate-
gizing. Oakes et al. (1998) studied the practices around a new business planning model in
Canadian museums. Maitlis and Lawrence (2003) analyzed the failure of members of a UK sym-
phony orchestra to construct an artistic strategy for their organization. These authors argue that
failure in organizational strategizing can be understood as resulting from the interplay of cer-
tain elements of organizational discourse and specific kinds of political behavior. As indicated
earlier, these empirical research efforts are attributed to the perceived failure of the traditional
strategy process research to study the micro-level characteristics of how strategists actually think
and act strategically in the whole strategy process of the firm. Alongside the growth in atten-
tion on this perspective, there have been calls for more critically oriented studies that focus
on the fundamental issues of identity and power (Carter et al., 2008; Clegg, 2011). More
recently, strategy-as-practice empirical studies have paid attention to topics such as: the role
of discourse and rhetoric (Abdallah et al., 2011; Balogun et al., 2014; Bednarek et al., 2014;
Dameron and Torset, 2014; Paroutis and Heracleous, 2013), and the role of materials, artefacts
and tools (Dameron et al., 2015; Jarzabkowski et al., 2015a; Paroutis et al., 2015; Thomas and
Ambrosini, 2015; Werle and Seidl, 2015; Wright et al., 2013).
Vaara and Whittington (2012) offer a comprehensive review of 57 strategy-as-practice
empirical studies published since 2003 (24 studies relating to practices, 18 to praxis, and
15 to practitioners) and develop a set of five research directions for the strategy-as-practice
perspective (placing agency in a web of practices, recognizing the macro-institutional nature
of practices, focusing attention on emergence in strategy making, exploring how the material
matters, and promoting critical analysis). Importantly, the authors note the distinctiveness of
the “strategy-as-practice” label that:
[it] carries with it a double meaning: “practice” signals both an attempt to be close to the world of practitioners
and a commitment to sociological theories of practice … its focus on the ways in which actors are enabled by
organizational and wider social practices in their decisions and actions provides a distinctive contribution to
research on strategic management. (2012: 2)
Overall, strategy-as-practice scholars examine the way in which actors interact with the social and
physical features of context in the everyday activities that constitute practice. They investigate how
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 9 9
managerial actors perform the work of strategy, both through their social interactions with other
actors and through practices present within a context, as well as habits, tools, events, artifacts,
and socially defined modes of acting through which the stream of strategic activity is constructed.
Through their studies strategy-as-practice scholars aim to develop, “more precise and contextually
sensitive theories about the enactment and impact of practices as well as about critical factors
shaping differences in practice outcomes” (Jarzabkowski et al., 2015b).
1.6 Three key concepts have been used to encapsulate the strategy-as-practice approach:
practitioners, practices, and praxis. This 3P framework helps reveal the micro-level
aspects of strategizing by focusing on the “who,” “how,” “where,” and “when” of strategic actions
(Figure 1.4).
Practitioners are the actors of strategizing, including managers, consultants, and specialized
internal change agents. Overall, as Vaara and Whittington note:
Practices refer to the various tools, norms, and procedures of strategy work, from analytical frameworks such
as Porter’s Five Forces to strategic planning routines such as strategy workshops. Praxis refers to the activity
involved in strategy-making, for example, in strategic planning processes or meetings. Practitioners are all those
involved in, or seeking to influence, strategy-making. (2012: 6)
Strategy activity
and its relationship
with organizational,
institutional and
societal contexts
Strategy actors
director, consultants)
Methods, tools, and
during strategizing
FIGURE 1.4 The praxis, practitioners and practices framework
Adapted from Whittington, 2006. Used with permission.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
The concept of practices refers to the various methods, tools, and techniques that practition-
ers utilize when they strategize. These methods, in many organizations over long periods of
time, tend to become standardized and routinized ways of analyzing strategic issues. In other
words, practices are “the shared routines of behaviour, including traditions, norms and pro-
cedures for thinking, acting and using ‘things’, this last in the broadest sense” (Whittington,
2006: 619).
Praxis refers to the activity comprising the work of strategizing. This work encompasses all
the meeting, consulting, writing, presenting, communicating, and so on that are required in
order to make and execute strategy. In other words, “all the various activities involved in the
deliberate formulation and implementation of strategy” (Whittington, 2006: 619). Activities
are defined as “the day to day stuff of management. It is what managers do and what they
manage” (Johnson et al., 2003: 15).
Importantly, across these three concepts there are areas of overlap, as indicated in Figure 1.4.
Each area of overlap raises a number of interesting questions about the conduct of strategy. For
instance, in the area where the concepts of “Practices” and “Practitioners” meet we could raise
a number of related questions, for instance “what kinds of methods do CEOs use to help them
strategize?” or “how are particular planning techniques/tools/SWOT used in action by consult-
ants?”. Similarly, in the “Praxis” and “Practices” area of overlap we could raise questions such
as “what kinds of actions do away-days encourage?” and “do particular strategy tools actually
help us think in more innovative terms about our strategy?”.
1.7 In this introductory chapter we have examined the move to study the micro lev-
els of strategy paying particular attention to the strategy-as-practice perspective.
We showed that this approach fundamentally moves away from modernist and positivist
views of strategy that focus on the macro scale of organizational activity toward a more
micro-level, humanistic, behavioral, interpretive approach to strategy making and execu-
tion. Integrating these insights with the ESCO model that we saw earlier, we arrive at the
summary shown in Figure 1.5.
At the macro level, the more traditional approach to strategy, attention is on the environment
and the key question is where to locate the organization among its competitors. At the level
of the environment, the classic considerations of industrial organization (Porter, 1980, 1985)
are relevant, but at the strategy level, the assumption is that managers and organizations have
a choice on which environmental domains to compete in and how to position the organization
(Child, 1972).
At the micro level, strategy is conceptualized as a situated and socially constructed
activity involving multiple actors. The key question here is how to practice strategy and
organize the culture, process, and structure in a way that supports the core competencies
of the firm. At this level, considerations of the resource-based view (Barney, 1991) are
relevant. The particular strategy actors, their tools, and their activities will be the focus of
the following chapters.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 11 11
The purpose of this book is to deal with a number of topics that contribute to our understanding
of strategy-as-practice. These topics are divided into two parts and four sections. The first part
(sections A to C) aims to contribute to our understanding of the actors, methods and activities in
and around the practice of strategy (Figure 1.6), and the second part (Section D) provides a num-
ber of case studies to illustrate the concepts presented in the first part. Section A deals with
particular kinds of strategy practitioners, both internal and external to the organization (Chapters
2 to 6). The aim here is to highlight the importance of the individual strategists in making and
FIGURE 1.5 The ESCO model through the macro and micro lenses
Chapters: 911
Topics: Alignment, M&As,
Chapters: 78
Topics: Discourse,
Meaning in Action
Chapters: 26
Topics: CEOs, CSOs,
Strategy teams,
Middle managers
Strategy consultants
FIGURE 1.6 The chapters and key themes in the first part of the textbook
practicing strategy: foundations and importance
executing strategy. Section B focuses on the strategic artifacts and discursive practices employed
by these practitioners to alter their organization’s strategy (Chapters 7 and 8). Section C deals
with the ways strategic activities are employed within and across organizations (Chapters 9 to 11).
The objective of this part is to demonstrate the importance of the specific context within strategy
that practitioners are called upon to formulate and implement.
In this chapter we have highlighted the importance of micro-level aspects of strategy making
and execution. Based on what you just read in the current chapter and your own experience,
what kinds of questions would you be asking at the micro level as a student and researcher of
Select an organization that you are familiar with. Conduct an analysis of that organization’s
micro-level strategy using the ESCO and 3P models. What kinds of insights do you gain?
Strategy at the micro level is a situated and socially constructed activity involving multiple
actors. As such, the kinds of questions that we could raise relate to the kinds of actions, tools,
and methods used to practice strategy and the ways to shape culture, processes, and structure to
develop the core competencies of the firm.
Whittington (2003) provides the following questions related to the strategy-as-practice per-
spective at the micro level:
How and where is strategizing and organizing work actually done?
Who does the formal work of strategizing and organizing and how do they get to do it?
What are the skills required for strategizing and organizing work and how are they
What are the common tools and techniques of strategizing and organizing and how are
these used in practice?
How is the work of strategizing and organizing itself organized?
How are the products of strategizing and organizing communicated and consumed?
Under each question Whittington provides a brief commentary (and references) that you can
investigate further.
Using the ESCO and 3P frameworks you can gain at least two key types of insights: (a) about the
way strategy is conducted at the micro level; and (b) about the kinds of potential misalignments
that exist/have existed in the particular organization. In order to provide such analysis at the micro
level you will appreciate that you need good-quality information from the particular organization
(e.g., based on your own experience of that firm). Accordingly, micro-level analysis is demanding
and should only be conducted if there is enough and good-quality information available.
practicing strategy: foundations and importance 13 13
Book: Heracleous, L., Wirtz, J., and Pangarkar, N. (2009) Flying High in a Competitive Industry. Singapore:
McGraw-Hill. An insightful investigation of one of the world’s leading airlines, Singapore Airlines, and a
number of strategy frameworks, including the ESCO model which we examined in Section 1.4.
Papers: For four encompassing sets of theoretical and empirical papers on the strategy-as-practice
perspective you can look at the following special issues: Journal of Management Studies, 40(1), 2003;
Human Relations, 60(1), 2007; Journal of Management Studies, 51(2), 2014; and British Journal of
Management, 26(S1), 2015.
Papers: Jarzabkowski, P. and Spee, A. P. (2009) Strategy-as-practice: a review and future direc-
tions for the field. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11, 69–95; and Vaara, E. and
Whittington, R. (2012) Strategy-as-practice: taking social practices seriously. Academy of
Management Annals, 6(1), 285–336. Two comprehensive reviews of the strategy-as-practice area of
research that provide classifications of papers employing the particular approach and avenues for
future research.
Website: For the latest announcements (for instance, for calls for special issues of journals, calls
for conference papers, workshops and jobs advertisements), discussion forums, and journal pub-
lications about the strategy-as-practice area, you can register at the SAP-IN (Strategy as Practice
International Network) at
Website: In order to find out more details about the aims, activities, and conferences offered by
academic communities associated with the strategy-as-practice perspective you can visit: the
Strategizing, Activities and Practices (SAP) interest group of the Academy of Management at http://; the Strategy Practice interest group at the Strategic Management Society at; and the Strategy-as-Practice special interest group at the British
Academy of Management at
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... As such, a secondary rating system was added to ensure that activities that were of relative ease were also prioritized. This resulted in a two-by-three matrix system (26), where both the perceived importance and ease of use for each implementation activity proposed could be captured. It was also important to ensure that stakeholders were re-engaged with to determine the importance and difficulty of each proposed activity. ...
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Background: Even with a strong evidence base, many healthcare interventions fail to be translated to clinical practice due to the absence of robust implementation strategies. For disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, access to evidence-based interventions beyond research settings is of great importance. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is a brief, group-based intervention, with consistent evidence of effectiveness. Methods: An implementation focused, three-phase methodology was developed using extensive stakeholder engagement. The methods resulted in a standardized Implementation Plan for the successful translation of CST from research to practice. The methodology was developed using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and refined in three countries that vary in levels of economic development and healthcare systems (Brazil, India and Tanzania). Results: Five Implemention Plans for CST were produced. Each plan contained implementation strategies and action plans devised in conjunction with policy professionals, healthcare professionals, people with dementia and family carers, and an international team of researchers and clinicians. Stoner et al. CST for Dementia: LMIC Implementation Conclusion: This novel methodology can act as a template for implementation studies in diverse healthcare systems across the world. It is an effective means of devising socio-culturally informed Implementation Plans that account for economic realities, health equity and healthcare access.
... Instead, we focused solely on operational (i.e. established) business models and focused our attention on the actions, practices, praxis of practitioners (Golsorkhi et al., 2015;Jarzabkowski, 2005;Paroutis, Heracleous, & Angwin, 2013;Whittington, 2006) with a view to understanding the linkage between the everyday decisions and actions of practitioners involved with a business model and consequential macro level changes. ...
Industrial high-tech markets are characterized by profound levels of market and technological uncertainty and so firms herein must navigate extraordinarily dynamic and fast-moving environments. In such settings, traditional top-down modes of strategic planning are ill-suited to generate the flexibility and speed of change necessary for firms to maintain environmental fitness over time. Survival requires that significant decision-making powers necessarily be located on the operational periphery of the firm. To understand how the resultant multiplicity of micro-strategizing and decision-making might engender macro-level change(s) to business models, we conduct a cross-sectional case study of two business models at Cisco Systems. After problematizing two broad strands of extant theory, we conjecture that a rival theory – complexity theory – might allow us to better explain how Cisco's business models evolve in practice and we utilize our case study to test this conjecture. We find that the business models studied have the capacity to change themselves spontaneously and autonomously from executive-led decisions in response to external stimuli. We offer a novel theoretical insight by postulating the existence of complex adaptive business models and we advance knowledge in a way that is useful for practitioners by suggesting they perceive themselves as facilitators and orchestrators of business models rather than owners or even controllers of them.
... 40 /1, 2003& Human Relations Vol. 60/1, 2007 sowie geplante (SMJ 2017) Sonderausgaben, Sammelbände (Golsorkhi 2015) und Lehrbücher (Johnson 2007, Paroutis et al. 2016. Außerdem entstanden internationale SAP-Netzwerke, die sich durch formelle Interessengruppen in Forschungsvereinigungen wie der Strategic Management 3 Nach Hutzschenreuter & Kleindienst (2006) lassen sich innerhalb der prozessorientierten Strategieforschung eine "rational-mechanistic perspective, cognitive perspective, upper-echelon perspective, middle-management perspective, organic perspective, and micro perspective" (Hutzschenreuter & Kleindienst 2006, S. 702) identifizieren, sodass die Arbeit sich vor allem letzteren zuordnen ließe. ...
In dieser Arbeit wird die Entstehung und Entwicklung strategischer Praktiken im Alltag eines Technologieunternehmens empirisch untersucht. Dazu werden sechs Alltagssequenzen, in denen sich das Unternehmen mit Problemsituationen aus der Produktgestaltung, der Zuliefererbeziehung sowie dem Geschäftsfeld konfrontiert sieht, mithilfe einer qualitativen Einzelfallstudie, exploriert. Die Untersuchung macht drei theoretische Beiträge: Erstens wird mit dem in dieser Arbeit entwickelten Praxisfilter-Modell gezeigt, wie strategische Praktiken entstehen ohne das es dafür eines ex ante festgelegten Bündels von Aktivitäten oder Praktiken bedarf. Zweitens wird durch die Rekonstruktion von Entwicklungsverläufen ein Beitrag zur Stabilität und zum Wandel strategischer Praktiken geliefert. Die Arbeit zeigt drittens auf, dass der Strategiebegriff nicht nur als ein Muster von Entscheidungen und Handlungen, sondern als ein Muster von Praktiken zu konzipieren ist. Für die Managementpraxis sind Strategien vor allem in problematischen und dynamischen Umwelt erforderlich. Entsprechend lassen sich aus dieser Arbeit drei Handlungsimplikationen ableiten: Zunächst wird empfohlen in Problemsituationen nicht auf die handelnden Akteure, sondern auf die von ihnen vollzogenen Praktiken abzustellen. Ferner kann der entwickelte Praxisfilter in konfliktären Situationen als ein rhetorisches Tool eingesetzt werden, um Interdependenzen zwischen der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft zur Reflexion zu bringen. Zuletzt zeichnet sich der Praxisfilter durch seine Kontextgebundenheit aus, sodass unintendierte Nebeneffekte bei der Entwicklung zukünftiger Handlungsoptionen nicht außer Acht gelassen werden.
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This study was conducted to address a distinct lack of knowledge regarding strategizing as a function of social interaction. Social researchers like Critchley contend that an organisation should essentially be regarded as an evolving product of people’s continuous interaction resulting in shared meaning. In subscribing to Critchley’s premise, and assuming that strategy inquiry is an empirically informed social science, the current study consequently set out to gain an understanding of how social interaction between practitioners shapes organisational strategizing and subsequent strategic outcomes. The strategy-as-practice perspective served as an integrative lens for the current research. This perspective that subscribes to the practice turn in social research, focuses on the actual practices (praxis) of strategy actors (practitioners) within unique organisational settings with unique strategizing tools, techniques and artefacts (practices). Informed by the philosophical underpinnings of a pragmatic worldview and a qualitatively driven mixed methods approach, a case study design allowed for in-depth analyses of multiple sources of empirical data to facilitate an understanding of the research phenomena. In addition to exploring social interaction during episodes of strategy practice, the current research investigated how practitioners’ motivations to interact shape and are shaped by ongoing interactions and meaning making. The current study also examined how external and internal organisational contexts, including organisational practices, influence and are influenced by ongoing social interactions. Two small private higher education institutions that reflect the typology of most private providers in the South African higher education landscape were selected for the case study. These private providers face numerous challenges in a tough current economic climate. Private providers further fulfil a pivotal role in the demand absorption of a growing need for higher education in South Africa. The main findings of the current research confirmed that strategizing at the two case study organisations is indeed mainly a function of social interaction. Strategizing is mostly shaped by people as emotional beings. Strategizing is the product of sometimes-irrational interactions and subsequent constantly evolving shared iv meanings and relationships between people. It is the social interaction between strategy actors during episodes of strategy praxis that serves as a social mechanism in transforming strategizing intent into strategy outcomes. Different strategy actors employ a wide array of techniques to get their ideas or views accepted during strategy-related interactions. Findings indicate that the selected strategies at the two case study organisations are mostly not based on objective reasoning linked to a clear plan or vision, but rather on strategy actors’ abilities in getting their ideas to be accepted by the group. Findings further indicated that the owners of the respective case study organisations strongly influence how things are done during episodes of strategy praxis. Strategizing at both companies is informal and comprises mostly of reacting to challenges and dealing with crises. Both organisations follow a differentiation strategy. Safety and security; employment prospects, as well as certain academic issues like small classes for better learning can be regarded as areas of competitive advantage for both. The proliferation of private providers, significant investment in private higher education, as well as private provision’s important demand absorption role suggest that there is a definite future for private higher education in South Africa. The intended main contribution of the current research is to facilitate an understanding of how social interaction as social mechanism shape strategizing and resultant strategic outcomes. The understanding of the social world supposedly increases as the collection of the compatible causal mechanisms grows – where mechanisms reveal how the observed relationships between phenomena are created and are explained. The findings of the current research could thus serve as a building block in accumulating social science theory regarding this unexplored avenue of interaction-driven strategy research. To this end, a conceptual framework is proffered to guide similar future studies. The current study provided a glimpse into the strategy-workings of two small private higher education providers and ultimately contributes towards the growing body of knowledge regarding private provision within the South African higher education landscape.
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Undanfarin ár hefur umræða um samfélagslega ábyrgð fyrirtækja aukist og á sama tíma hefur mikilvægi ferðaþjónustufyrirtækja á Íslandi vaxið. Ferðaþjónustufyrirtæki eru háðari því en mörg önnur fyrirtæki að vel sé hugsað um náttúru Íslands til lengri tíma og samfélagsleg ábyrgð ætti því að vera mikilvæg fyrir greinina. Rannsóknir hafa þó sýnt að fyrirtæki standa ekki alltaf við skuldbindingar sínar um samfélagslega ábyrgð og ákveðin hætta er til staðar á grænþvotti. Til þess að kanna hvernig fyrirtæki í ferðaþjónustu á Íslandi sinntu samfélagslegri ábyrgð og sjálfbærni voru tekin viðtöl stjórnendur ferðaþjónustufyrirtækja, sem þegar höfðu sýnt fram á áhuga á samfélagslegri ábyrgð með þátttöku í Vakanum, sem er gæðaog umhverfisvottun í ferðaþjónustu á Íslandi. Markmið viðtalanna var að greina hvar samfélagsleg ábyrgð er staðsett innan viðskiptalíkana fyrirtækjanna og með því greina hvort samfélagsleg ábyrgð væri samþætt fjárhagslegum markmiðum fyrirtækisins. Niðurstöður benda til þess að hluti fyrirtækjanna hafi strax í upphafi rekstrar staðsett samfélagslega ábyrgð í viðskiptalíkani sínu. Samfélagslega ábyrgðin var þó misvel samþætt inn í líkanið, helmingur þessara fyrirtækja taldi samfélagslega ábyrgð ekki kostnaðarsama, heldur skapa forskot, en hinn helmingurinn taldi að henni fylgdi aukakostnaður. Þau fyrirtæki sem ekki staðsettu samfélagslega ábyrgð sem hluta af viðskiptalíkani, heldur sem viðbót við reksturinn, töldu einnig að samfélagsleg ábyrgð væri kostnaðarsöm og því líklegri til að vera skorin niður ef til samdráttar kæmi.
Technical Report
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It is the job of the staff organization to plan for the future in a military operation. Situation awareness is required to produce good plans, yet how do organizations promote situation awareness in practice? Could an organization unintentionally also prevent situation awareness from emerging? This research paper delves into the social practices a staff organization adopts to gain control of its past, present and future during a staff training exercise. It looks into the leadership and organizing practices the staff adopts in its daily work. The study looks at how organizing actualizes in time and how the formal structure and operating policies influence the future planning activities. The research is based on the author’s experiences from 2016 and 2017 when he participated in the CJSE international crisis management exercise in the role of an ethnographic researcher. An ethnographer follows the organization members in their daily tasks, aiming to gain understanding of how the staff organization works in practice and how the organization members make sense of their work. The research shows how the organizational practices are premised on both cyclical and linear temporalities. The organization applies cyclical entrainment practices to provide shared daily rhythms for the organization members, and linear sequential practices to coordinate workflows. Furthermore, the research shows how the disparity of formal documents representing past futures and current operational realities representing present futures can create networks of indecision in the organization hindering the planning effort. In general, the staff organization is organized similarly to industrial organizations: the coordination of knowledge work follows the logic of traditional production planning. Yet, in certain situations these organizing principles may hinder the emergence of collective situation awareness.
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In management research, theoretical abstractions, which are traditionally derived based on economic and individualist ontological assumptions, are limited in the ability to produce practically relevant insights and increase the divide between organisational practitioners and scientists. This paper argues that contemporary theory of practice, which jointly considers agency, structure and materiality, overcomes the confrontation and integrates scientific rigour with the richness of organisational practice. The author thereby introduces the origins of practice theory, analyses the definition of practice and explores the areas of management research where practice theory is currently adopted.
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The ambidexterity framework, which comprises two contradictory, yet interrelated processes of exploration and exploitation, has been researched using a variety of perspectives. Few studies, however, provide insight into the question: how is ambidexterity managed across multiple organizational levels? To address this question, we introduce the term ambidexterity penetration that refers to the enactment of ambidexterity across multiple organizational levels and develop a conceptual framework about how it is practiced (horizontally, vertically and organizationally). We empirically showcase this framework using findings from six business units of an aerospace and defense organization and analyzing data from 30 interviews. Overall, our study contributes to ambidexterity research and offers an empirical investigation of ambidexterity penetration across multiple organizational levels in the context of the aerospace and defense sector.
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Entrepreneurs aim to introduce innovations into the market, e.g., in the form of new products or services. However, innovations always mean changes, and people tend to react reluctantly to changes. Moreover, introducing innovations into the market is often linked to a higher investment risk. Thus, before ideas can become tangible reality, they first need to be "sold", for example, to supervisors, potential investors, and, finally, customers. For these reasons, it is particularly helpful for entrepreneurs to have a charismatic way of speaking with which they can persuade others of their ideas. Against this background, this paper motivates and outlines our new line of research. It focuses on charisma that emanates from the speaker's tone of voice. The line of research builds upon previous phonetic analyses of political speakers and traditional rhetorical descriptions of a speaker's charismatic tone of voice, and is meant to supplement and enrich existing verbal approaches to charisma (like the Charismatic Leadership Tactics) as well as to extend and eventually replace descriptive rhetorical terminology with an objective, acoustically-based, perceptually-informed, and technologically-supported tone-of-voice analysis, evaluation, and training. We briefly sketch our promising initial findings with regard to the quantification and training of an entrepreneur's perceived charisma. Then, we outline how our research can contribute to and get input from other fields that are more or less closely related to charisma, such as expressive speech, emotion, phonostylistics, entrepreneurship, rhetoric, and the entire field of body language.
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This paper challenges the recent focus on practices as stand-alone phenomena, as exemplified by the so-called “Practice-Based View of Strategy (PBV)” by Bromiley and Rau (2014). While the goal of “PBV” points to the potential of standard practices to generate performance differentials (in contrast to the Resource Based View), it marginalizes well-known insights from practice theory more widely. In particular, by limiting its focus to practices, i.e. “what” practices are used, it underplays the implications of “who” is engaged in the practices and “how” the practices are carried out. In examining practices in isolation, the “PBV” carries the serious risk of misattributing performance differentials. In this paper, we offer an integrative practice perspective on strategy and performance that should aid scholars in generating more precise and contextually-sensitive theories about the enactment and impact of practices as well as about critical factors shaping differences in practice outcomes. Forthcoming in Strategic Organisation. Access a copy here:
Conference Paper
This paper is about the rhetorical micro-foundations of transcendence and how those rhetoric strategies construct transcendence as a response to paradox. We provide additional insight into transcendence and address the dearth of empirical investigation into the micro- activities that constitute it. Drawing from a dataset of three qualitative cases in a science sector where participants describe a capacity to transcend contradictory strategic emphases (a performing paradox), we offer two contributions to the paradox literature. First, we elaborate on the concept of transcendence through outlining four rhetorical strategies of: Ordering; Aspiring; Signifying and Embodying. By surfacing multiple rhetorical strategies, we offer new empirical insight into the constitutive elements of transcendence. Second, we develop a framework of Situating Paradox to show how rhetorical strategies construct transcendence as a response to paradox. We highlight an array of enabling features (‘focus’, ‘time’ and ‘space’) inherent to each rhetorical strategy and show how these are balanced across the four strategies. Together these findings show the complex interactions between an array of rhetorical response strategies and the enabling features inherent to those strategies, extending insight into the micro-foundations of transcendence as a response to paradox.
Understanding sources of sustained competitive advantage has become a major area of research in strategic management. Building on the assumptions that strategic resources are heterogeneously distributed across firms and that these differences are stable over time, this article examines the link between firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Four empirical indicators of the potential of firm resources to generate sustained competitive advantage-value, rareness, imitability, and substitutability are discussed. The model is applied by analyzing the potential of several firm resources for generating sustained competitive advantages. The article concludes by examining implications of this firm resource model of sustained competitive advantage for other business disciplines.
Contributions from the strategic decision process literature are synthesized and integrated with literature on organizational structure. Propositions emerge that describe how the characteristics of an organization's strategic decision process are affected by its structure. Also discussed are the patterns of strategic process characteristics that are likely to be associated with different types of structures. Conclusions are reached on issues such as the accuracy of alternative models of the strategic decision process, and the appropriate unit of analysis for studying that process.
An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses several topics within the issue including developing an interest in materiality for the organizational research, workshops on materiality, and linking of materiality with the strategy practice agenda.
In this paper we examine the role of different material artefacts in the exploration of novel strategic topics. We conceptualize strategic topics as epistemic objects that become instantiated in multiple material artefacts, i.e. partial objects, which not only represent the epistemic object but also energize and direct the exploration process. Based on a longitudinal case study of a company that (in collaboration with other companies) explored the strategic topic of ‘flexible production’, we develop a new typology of material artefacts in terms of their relation to the strategic topic. We describe the layered nature of materiality, differentiating between different types of objectual and non-objectual material artefacts, and show how their interplay shapes the dynamics of the strategizing process. In particular, we explain how the constellation of material artefacts can lead to a shift of the strategic topic itself. We offer a conceptual model that captures the mechanisms in the dynamic interplay of different types of material artefacts and their effect on the process of exploration.
Drawing on the Mintzbergian perspective of strategy formation and strategy as practice literature we explore management controls (MCs) and comprehensiveness as anteced-ents to how strategy materializes in volatile environments. We focus on middle managers (MMs) since their role in strategy formation is well acknowledged. We contribute to the literature by arguing that MCs are central to strategy formation due to their role in shaping emergence of strategy and supporting implementation of deliberate strategies, with formal (process and output) and informal (professional) controls being salient micro-mechanisms in how strategy materializes in volatile environments. Specifically we argue that process control may hamper the materialization of strategy but that output and professional control aid it. We also develop the literature by arguing that compre-hensiveness embeds both formally planned and emergent aspects in strategy formation, the latter enabled by top management championing and information availability which shapes MMs' predisposition to strategizing. With a quantitative study we test our hypotheses regarding championing, information availability and comprehensiveness; and comprehensiveness, and MCs and implementation performance. Our results show that comprehensiveness, output and professional controls positively influence MMs' imple-mentation performance and, together, our antecedents reinforce each other in the mate-rialization of strategy, hence providing an empirical contribution to the literature.
This paper takes seriously the call for strategy-as-practice research to address the material, spatial and bodily aspects of strategic work. Drawing on a video-ethnographic study of strategic episodes in a financial trading context, we develop a conceptual framework that elaborates on strategic work as socially accomplished within particular spaces that are constructed through different orchestrations of material, bodily and discursive resources. Building on the findings, our study identifies three types of strategic work, private work, collaborative work and negotiating work, that are accomplished within three distinct spaces that are constructed through multi-modal constellations of semiotic resources. We show that these spaces, and the activities performed within them, are continuously shifting in ways that enable and constrain the particular outcomes of a strategic episode. Our framework contributes to the strategy-as-practice literature by identifying the importance of spaces in conducting strategic work, and providing insight into way that these spaces are constructed.