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Series: Strategy as Practice

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Theories, methodologies and phenomena

EDITORIAL

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Over the last decade, strategy-as-practice has emerged as a distinctive approach in strategy research, according to which strategy is conceptualized as something that people do rather than something that firms in their markets have. This interest in doing strategy directs research attention to the myriad of day-to-day micro-level activities that make up the everyday practice of strategy. Yet, at the same time it calls for an appreciation of the role of the macro-level institutions in which these strategizing activities are embedded and which they instantiate: Strategists are not acting in isolation but exist within those regular, socially defined modes of acting that arise from the plural social institutions in which they are embedded and which they construct on a moment-by-moment basis in their actions.

The field has therefore increasingly turned its attention to studying the nexus of practitioners, practices and praxis, in which strategy is performed. The research focus is thus on the interaction between practitioners (strategists, broadly defined from middle and top managers to consultants and others, who do the work of strategy), practices (those social and material ‘things’, such as PowerPoint, flipcharts, spreadsheets, tools and concepts, and spaces that are integral to doing strategy) and praxis (the flow of work at multiple levels, in which strategy is performed). Studies may differently foreground or background practitioners, practices and praxis, according to their dominant theoretical and methodological approach and the empirical phenomena of interest. Our series aims to provide insight into these concepts and analytic choices.

The objective of the Strategy-as-Practice series of talks is to provide an introduction into this novel approach to strategy and to reveal the particular insights that can be gained by adopting such an approach. Apart from an introductory talk which will elaborate on the legacy of the strategy-as-practice approach and its relation to other areas of strategy research, the series is divided into three main sections: The first section will discuss different theoretical perspectives in strategy-as-practice; the second section will elaborate on the advantages and challenges of different empirical methods in examining strategy practice; the third and most extensive section will address central phenomena in strategy practice, such as strategy meetings, strategy talk, strategy tools, strategic planning etc. Each talk is given by an eminent scholar in the respective field and will include slides and a few recommended readings.

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TALKS IN THIS SERIES (14)

Introduction
Play '1. Introduction to Strategy-as-Practice (50 mins)'
1. Introduction to Strategy-as-Practice (50 mins) More info
Prof. Paula Jarzabkowski  –  Aston Business School, UK
Prof. David Seidl  –  University of Zurich, Switzerland

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Foundations of S-as-P
  • Strategy and economics
  • Strategy process
  • The practice turn
  • Definition
  • Three notions of practice
  • A research framework
  • A framework for studying S-as-P
  • Entwining macro and micro
  • Pluralism of theories
  • Theoretical resources
  • Methodological choices
  • Resources
Play '2. Studying strategy from a practice perspective: an overview and examples (76 mins)'
2. Studying strategy from a practice perspective: an overview and examples (76 mins) More info
Prof. Stewart Clegg  –  Centre for Management and Organization Studies, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • What is strategy
  • Strategy is political
  • Rationality and strategy
  • Strategy and practice
  • Origins
  • Strategy process
  • Key S-as-P questions
  • Strategy in the city
  • Data
  • Case study of Sydney
  • Strategizing, politics and the public

Theories
Play '3. The social theories of practice underpinning the strategy-as-practice (64 mins)'
3. The social theories of practice underpinning the strategy-as-practice (64 mins) More info
Prof. Davide Nicolini  –  Professor of Organization Studies, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Practice
  • Practice theory
  • Giddens
  • Bourdieu
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Schatzki
  • Practice-based studies
  • Strategy-as-Practice
  • Practice-history
  • Activity
  • Theory -Zooming-in
  • Zooming-out

Methods and methodology
Play '4. Research methodology for strategy as practice (48 mins)'
4. Research methodology for strategy as practice (48 mins) More info
Prof. Ann Langley  –  HEC Montréal, Canada

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • The domain of “strategy as practice” research
  • Approaching strategy as practice (Epistemological choices and research strategies)
  • Bounding strategy as practice (Sampling and research design)
  • Capturing strategy as practice (Access, data collection and ethics)
  • Understanding strategy as practice (Analysis and theorizing)
Play '5. Discourse analysis as a method in strategy-as-practice (73 mins)'
5. Discourse analysis as a method in strategy-as-practice (73 mins) More info
Prof. Eero Vaara  –  Hanken School of Economics, Finland

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Discursive perspectives on strategy
  • Strategy discourse
  • Narratives
  • Conversations
  • Strategic plans
  • Media texts
  • Discursive analysis of strategy
  • Strategy as multifaceted discourse
  • Interdiscursivity and recontextualization
  • Discourse and power in context
  • Discursive struggles
  • Discourse and materiality
  • Methodological questions
Play '6. An ethnographic approach to strategy as practice: Using video to observe strategizing (52 mins)'
6. An ethnographic approach to strategy as practice: Using video to observe strategizing (52 mins) More info
Dr. Curtis LeBaron  –  Brigham Young University, USA

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Ethnography in evolution for hundreds of years
  • Ethnography in stark contrast to psychology
  • Video Ethnography
  • Video analysis
  • Origins and influences
  • Conversation analysis
  • Harvey Sacks
  • Action as socially constitutive
  • Context analysis
  • Logo-centric conversation analysis
  • Proxemics
  • Kinesics
  • Procedures in video ethnography
  • Steps in a Microethnographic Study
  • Data collection
  • Boundary moments
  • Assumptions behind the research method
  • The cinematic features of the data
  • The story of the organization

Phenomena
Play '7. Middle managers and their strategic work (40 mins)'
7. Middle managers and their strategic work (40 mins) More info
Prof. Linda Rouleau  –  HEC Montréal, Canada

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Middle managers research and SAP
  • Historical overview
  • Definition
  • Strategy work
  • Sensemaking practices
  • Discursive practices
  • Political practices
  • Institutional practices
  • Organizational ethnography
  • Self-report and biographical methods
  • Shadowing
  • Challenges
  • Future avenues of research
Play '8. The role of meetings in strategizing (42 mins)'
8. The role of meetings in strategizing (42 mins) More info
Prof. David Seidl  –  University of Zurich, Switzerland

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Views on the role of meetings
  • Meetings from a practice perspective
  • Central aspects of meetings
  • Central functions of meetings
  • Relation between meetings and strategy
  • Meeting practices
  • Meetings as strategic episodes
  • Meetings as rituals
  • Strategy workshops
  • Inter-organizational workshops
  • Areas for future research on meetings
Play '9. Studying strategy practices and strategy tools (58 mins)'
9. Studying strategy practices and strategy tools (58 mins) More info
Prof. Paula Jarzabkowski  –  Aston Business School, UK

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • What are practices?
  • An S-as-P definition
  • Strategy practices
  • A strategy practice?
  • How to study them
  • Counting
  • Classifying
  • Intangibles
  • Strategy tools
  • Theorising practices
  • Sociomaterial
  • Classifying, describing, explaining
  • Steps forward
Play '10. Strategic planning:  a practice perspective (56 mins)'
10. Strategic planning: a practice perspective (56 mins) More info
Prof. Ann Langley  –  HEC Montréal, Canada

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • What is “strategic planning”?
  • Early and more current research on strategic planning
  • A framework for strategic planning
  • Strategic planning as a social practice (Textual practices, Production practices, Consumption practices, Temporal dynamics)
  • Evolution of planning systems
  • Multiple opportunities for further research
Play '11. Strategizing talk and text (30 mins)'
11. Strategizing talk and text (30 mins) More info
Prof. François Cooren  –  Université de Montréal, Canada

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Strategy
  • Strategizing
  • Conversations
  • Texts
  • Positioning
  • Management meetings
  • Authority
  • Ventriloquism
Play '12. Exploring organizational identity in strategy work: towards an embodied metaphor perspective (42 mins)'
12. Exploring organizational identity in strategy work: towards an embodied metaphor perspective (42 mins) More info
Prof. Claus D. Jacobs  –  Swiss National Science Foundation Professor of Strategy and Organization, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Organizational identity
  • Strategic management
  • Competitive advantage
  • Resource-based view
  • Strategy work
  • Identity work
  • Metaphors
  • Metaphorical reasoning
  • Embodiment
  • Embodied metaphors
  • Multi-modality
  • Multi-modal elicitation
  • Strategy as Practice
Play '13. Strategy professionals: strategic planners and strategy consultants (25 mins)'
13. Strategy professionals: strategic planners and strategy consultants (25 mins) More info
Prof. Richard Whittington  –  Professor of Strategy, University of Oxford, UK

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • The strategy profession
  • Strategic planners and strategy consultants
  • Demand for strategy professionals
  • Why the strategy profession matters
  • Nature of the strategy profession
  • Four forces shaping the strategy profession
  • Open strategy
  • Issues for research
Play '14. Strategy-as-practice and micro-foundations (21 mins)'
14. Strategy-as-practice and micro-foundations (21 mins) More info
Dr. Patrick Regnér  –  Associate Professor, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

TOPICS COVERED IN THIS TALK

  • Micro-foundations and strategy-as-practice
  • Strategy content
  • Strategy process
  • Micro-foundations research in strategy-as-practice
  • Capabilities
  • Operational capabilities
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Micro-foundations
  • Organizational and managerial processes
  • Apple/iPhone example
  • Research opportunities
  • References
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ABOUT THIS SERIES

Editor(s)

Prof. David Seidl Show Biography

EDITOR BIOGRAPHY

Prof. David Seidl – University of Zurich, Switzerland

David Seidl (PhD, Cambridge University) is Full Professor of Organization and Management at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and Research Associate at the Centre for Business Studies at Cambridge University (UK). He is senior editor of Organization Studies and a member of several editorial boards including Journal of Management Studies, Strategic Organization, Organization and Scandinavian Journal of Management. He is also a member of the executive board of the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Past Chair of the SAP Interest Group at the Academy of Management and co-organizer of the EGOS Standing Working Group on "Strategizing: Activity and Practice." He has widely published on organization, strategy and the philosophy of science. His papers have appeared in journals like Journal of Management Studies, Organization, Organization Studies and Human Relations. He has (co-)produced several special issues and books, including most recently The Cambridge Handbook of Strategy-as-Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Prof. Paula Jarzabkowski Show Biography

EDITOR BIOGRAPHY

Prof. Paula Jarzabkowski – Aston Business School, UK

Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management at Aston Business School and an Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Ghoshal Fellow. She is also the Director of the AstonCentre for Critical Infrastructure and Services (ACCIS). Paula's research focuses on the social practices of strategy-making, particularly in regulated, professional service and public sector organizations, which are beset by contradictory and competing strategic demands. She publishes on these topics in a number of leading journals, such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies, as well as publishing the first book on strategy-as-practice, 'Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach' with Sage in 2005.

Publication Date  /  Last Updated

August, 2012  /  February, 2014

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