Sunday, December 13, 2015

Heli Pietilä (2015): Participation in Strategy: Strategists and Strategy Survivors (Dissertation, in Finnish)

What is it about?

The dissertation reports a (doctoral) research about strategizing, with a public sector organization as a research context.

The study follows the Strategy-as-Practice research tradition whereby any organizational member can be a strategist. Accordingly, the research investigated the agency and experiences of diverse organizational members in a stategizing setting where major contextual and organizational changes had taken place and were still unfolding.

The major outcome of the study is that organizational members have differing degrees of strategic agency - which do not necessarily correspond to formal organizational hierarchy - and those with less or no such agency employ a number of coping mechanisms as a response to this perceived lack of agency.

Was it good?

Yes, it was. Well, doctoral dissertations usually do not read exceptionally fluently when compared to 'general interest' literature, but this particular dissertation was written in such a manner that its academic nature was not exceedingly elaborate. This, of course, is - considering the academic nature of the work - a mixed blessing.

Nonetheless, the qualitative reporting was particularly enjoyable to read because of its authentic reporting and citing practice.

The main take-away for me?

The main take-away for me was the typologization of different coping mechanisms. In other words, organizational members with less or no strategic agency are not just without such potential, but instead follow intentionally different behavioral patterns, or adopt such identity stances.

Who should read the book?

Well, of course any Strategy-as-Practice scholar would benefit form reading the book. However, also other people interested in strategic management and strategic management research would benefit from the section in which this strategy paradigm is reviewed. And finally, the key findings of the study would be good reading for practicing managers in that those provide nuanced understanding about how organizations and organizational strategizing actually work - like Strategy-as-Practice research in general.

The book (dissertation) in PDF format

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