On the problem of participation in strategy:a critical discursive perspective

Mantere, Saku and Vaara, Eero (2008) On the problem of participation in strategy:a critical discursive perspective. Organization Science, 19 (2). pp. 341-358. ISSN 1047-7039

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Abstract

We still know little of why strategy processes often involve participation problems. In this paper, we argue that this crucial issue is linked to fundamental assumptions about the nature of strategy work. Hence, we need to examine how strategy processes are typically made sense of and what roles are assigned to specific organizational members. For this purpose, we adopt a critical discursive perspective that allows us to discover how specific conceptions of strategy work are reproduced and legitimized in organizational strategizing. Our empirical analysis is based on an extensive research project on strategy work in 12 organizations. As a result of our analysis, we identify three central discourses that seem to be systematically associated with nonparticipatory approaches to strategy work: “mystification,” “disciplining,” and “technologization.” However, we also distinguish three strategy discourses that promote participation: “self-actualization,” “dialogization,” and “concretization.” Our analysis shows that strategy as practice involves alternative and even competing discourses that have fundamentally different kinds of implications for participation in strategy work. We argue from a critical perspective that it is important to be aware of the inherent problems associated with dominant discourses as well as to actively advance the use of alternative ones.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Organization Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1405
Subjects:
ID Code:
64864
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
11 Jun 2013 10:33
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
20 Oct 2020 02:31