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Strategic practices: An activity theory perspective on continuity and change

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2002
This paper draws upon activity theory to analyse an empirical investigation of micro strategy, identified here as strategy as practice, in three UK universities. Activity theory provides a framework of four interactive components from which strategy emerges; the collective structures of the organisation, the primary actors, in this research conceptualised as the top management team (TMT), the practical activities in which they interact and the strategic practices through which interaction is conducted. Using this framework, the paper focuses specifically on the formal practices involved in direction setting, resource allocation, and monitoring and control. Strategic practices are found to be idiosyncratic to the interpretative context in which they are used and this is associated with different patterns of strategy as practice in each institution. Strategic practices are also associated with a tendency towards stability in one case study but are evolving and being reinterpreted in the other two cases. Drawing upon the activity theory framework, this finding is used to model the tendencies for continuity or change in the three case studies, depending upon the way that practices either distribute shared interpretations or mediate between contested interpretations of strategy within the activity system. This modelling is used to examine the relationships between strategic practices and strategy as practice in organisational continuity and change.

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