Strategy as Practice

Strategy as Practice (SAP) research draws on sociological perspectives to study the micro-activities of strategy work. Rather than seeing strategy as something that organisations have, SAP conceptualises strategy as something that people do; through everyday activity with tools, materials and each other. SAP research drills down to study the roles of different practitioners who do strategy work, including senior managers, middle managers, consultants, professionals and external advisors.  It focusses attention on the micro-practices and routines that actors use, for example, when working with strategy tools, interacting in strategy meetings or running strategy workshops. To get close to the action, SAP typically uses qualitative methodologies, such as interviewing, ethnography, participant observation or video-ethnography, to capture the fine-grained action that unfolds when strategies are being developed, negotiated and enacted. 

Several researchers in the Marketing & Strategy Group are specialists in the SAP field, focusing on questions related to the creation and use of strategy tools; the practices of strategic planning, implementation and change; the role of top and middle managers and topics related to identity, institutional complexity and ambidexterity. These researchers have made significant contributions to theory and real-world practice. An overview of recent research publications can be found here.

They publish in leading management journals, such as The Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, British Journal of Management, Long Range Planning and the Journal of Management Inquiry and they have secured knowledge exchange grants and government funding to undertake research that makes a genuine impact; co-authoring industry reports and practitioner masterclasses. Additionally, members of our group sit on the Executive Committee of the Strategizing Activities and Practices IG at the Academy of Management, where they help to grow and promote the SAP research community.

Researchers involved in this theme would like to foster collaborations with research students who are interested in using SAP, or a practice-based lens, to study strategy related questions or problems.  They are also keen to work collaboratively with organisations in the public and private sector, and with entrepreneurs, to exchange knowledge and develop mutually beneficial outcomes on the following research topics.

Please contact abs_sap@aston.ac.uk for more information.