Strategy Cluster Seminar - Paula Jarzabkowski

4 April, 2016 - 12:00 to 13:00
Building 3, Room 262

Recent empirical studies and agenda-setting papers have called for further research into the practices and processes of deliberate and emergent strategy-making and their implications for realized strategy. Through close attention to how strategy is actually made, these scholars suggest we can provide new insights into long-standing debates about deliberate and emergent strategizing, and rethink fundamental issues about alignment between corporate and business level strategy. Responding to these calls, this paper examines a topic that has been somewhat marginalized in recent practice and process literature: The relationship between strategizing and structuring, and, in particular, how alignment between these two messy processes shapes the implementation of strategic change.

We draw upon the salient case of Telco, an organization undergoing a radical strategic change necessary to meet new regulatory requirements and accompanied by very rapid, large-scale restructuring of the organization. Such a context captures a time when strategy and structure “move together, as the organization jumps to a new position” (Mintzberg, 1990: 183). We track the iterative process of strategizing and structuring in Telco in real-time over 24 months at the Corporate Centre and across all Telco divisions. Our findings are drawn together into a conceptual model that shows how misalignment between strategizing and structuring occurs at multiple levels from corporate to business unit strategy, and within and across structural divisions, generating repeated breakdowns in the strategic change process. These breakdowns motivate re-strategizing and restructuring, which are worked at through the application of financial, human and discursive resource bundles to construct new organizational links. This forging of new connections following breakdown is critical to the strategic change process because it enables the continuous reconstruction of strategizing and structuring, within which the initially planned strategy and structure are continuously adjusted.

Based on these findings, we contribute to the literature on intended, emergent and realized strategy, autonomous strategy making processes, strategy as guided evolution, and strategy-as-practice. We also extend understandings of resourcing strategic change through bundles of situated financial, discursive and human resources. In doing so, our study contributes to a more dynamic understanding of strategy and structure, and addresses calls for more research into strategy implementation and planned strategic change.

Authors: Paula Jarzabkowski, Jane Le, Julia Balogun

Paula Jarzabkowski, Cass Business School

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