This post showcases the latest ideas from SAP doctoral students just finishing their PhDs. Watch out for these students in the coming conference season!
Meetings and Routines in the Strategy Process: Katharina Dittrich is a doctoral student at the Chair of Organization and Management (David Seidl) at the University of Zurich. Her dissertation focuses on the role of meetings in the strategy process and the formation and development of strategically important routines. Katharina carried out a one-year ethnographic study at a start-up company in the pharmaceutical industry, observing interactions at the board, management and employee level. In 2011, Katharina received the s-a-p best paper award at the Academy of Management Meeting for her paper on the role of meetings in the strategy process. Last year, Katharina spent 3 months at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, with Richard Whittington as her academic advisor. She will finish her PhD in the spring of 2014. Prior to her doctoral studies, Katharina worked 3 years as a strategy consultant at Booz & Company
Practical relevance of strategy research: Violetta Splitter is a doctoral student at the University of Zurich’s Chair of Organization and Management (David Seidl). Her research interests include the relations between strategy research, education and practice, in particular the transferability and the practical relevance of management ideas and concepts. In her research she primarily employs a Bourdieusian practice perspective. Her dissertation papers have been published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and in Organization. Together with David Seidl, she organized a showcase symposium on practical relevance of practice-based studies at the AOM 2012. Violetta is the Membership Chair of the Strategy-as-Practice International Network website. Currently she spends a research stay, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, at HEC Montréal (Ann Langley). She will finish her PhD in spring 2014.
The ‘Invisible Presence’ of Strategy Tools: Suela Haxhiraj is a fourth year DPhil Candidate at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. In her dissertation, Suela focuses on analytic strategy tools (e.g. frameworks and methods in support of solving strategy problems), aiming to further our understanding on the patterns of their use, their embeddedness in strategy projects, as well as the ultimate purposes they serve. Her findings show that analytic strategy tools are used more than we think, especially in the backstage work of strategy teams; the use of these tools follows a sequential pattern (some tools are used more in specific phases of strategy projects); and their presence in strategy projects is not always evident at first sight – tools tend to be disassembled and reassembled by their users, to create new tools, which are thereafter addressed explicitly or implicitly by strategizers and their audiences. Hence, her thesis proposes an “invisible presence of strategy tools”, especially as observed in the work of experienced strategy practitioners. In her study, she adopts a “strategy as practice” lens, theoretically accessing the use of strategy tools through “reflection in action” and sensemaking.
The Adoption of Strategy Tools: Bruno Oliveira has recently submitted his PhD thesis, at Aston University (UK), on the topic of the adoption of strategy tools. In June, he will be taking up a lectureship at the University of Bath. His PhD thesis investigated the reasons that contribute to managers’ intentions to adopt specific strategy tools. Based on the theory of reasoned action and related theories, the thesis developed a theoretical model that hypothesised that managers intentions to adopt strategy tools were driven by three key factors: perceptions of tools’ technical characteristics, perceptions of social expectations and perceptions of control over behaviour. These hypotheses were supported in a large-scale survey administered in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute. Bruno has been working on the topic of strategy tools for the past 5 years (including his Master’s dissertation), has begun publishing in the area, and is keen to develop this research further.
Discursive Processes in Innovation: Roger Förström is a third year doctoral student at the Hanken School of Economics, department of Management and Organization. Roger’s research is focusing on discursive processes in the formation of innovation in organizations. Questions include: How and why is innovation knowledge formed in organizations? What rules determine the discursive formation of innovation knowledge? What are the discursive strategies and tactics by which innovation knowledge is formed? What are the implications of the discursive formation of innovation knowledge on the organization’s processes for anticipating and developing towards future demands? And so forth. To explore these questions Roger is currently applying a Foucauldian (archaeological) framework in a longitudinal participatory ethnography in a governmental organization. In addition Roger also has an interest in other organizational processes such as strategy, in particular in their inter-discursive relationship to innovation. He is also interested in the philosophy of science and processes of power in organizations. Before joining the academia Roger previously worked for seventeen years with management and development of innovation in a large multinational corporation.
Middle Managers’ Discursive Strategies: Philip Gylfe is a PhD Student at the Department of Management and Organization at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. Philip is interested in how middle managers foster agreement on strategy initiatives in their teams. By analysing the discursive strategies adopted by middle managers, the focus of this project is on the way middle managers use professional identity based language. Philip is interested in the journalistic profession and is conducting a large scale video based ethnography at the Finnish national public service broadcaster YLE.
Practices of Wargaming Groups: Mikko Vesa examines the strategic practices and processes of virtual gaming organizations. Based on 39-month ethnographic participant observation study of five player organizations in the massive multiplayer computer game World of Warcraft the study outlines the pertinent qualities of novel virtual organizations with regards to issues such as managerial practices, organizational boundary management and the temporal sequencing of strategizing activities. The study also explores the nature of studying online environments through ethnography and discusses the specifics problems associated with combining ethnography and a study of strategic micro practices.