An arena for things? Sociomaterial staging of strategists, devices and praxis

Ole Uhrskov Friis, Christian Koch

Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review

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Strategy practices involve social as well as material elements. More specifically, strategy formulation can be viewed as an entanglement of soft and hard materiality (i.e. procedures and templates) with social players, such as CEOs, managers and consultants. Apart from this sociomaterial perspective used, a Goffmanian perspective of staging is adopted, inquiring into what arenas are staged for strategy formulation, what types of devices are involved, how they enable or constrain strategy formulation and what the dynamics between devices and the arenas where they are staged are. Using material from an ethnographic study of strategy formulation, three (front) staged arenas are identified, as is their back stage intermediation. A series of devices are purposely mobilised by management and consultants first in staging the managers in a more traditional strategy workshop with the employees as spectators. Second, staging the employees in an open space workshop as strategy practitioners. Third, the employees are staged as strategy practitioners in strategy project work. Most project groups worked as expected, but one of the strategy project group process constitutes a rare exception, as staging and mobilisation of devices lead to unanticipated events, triggering extraordinary management activity.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Group for Organizational Studies
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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