Forthcoming SAP-themed Special Issue: Materializing Strategy and Strategizing Materials: Why Matter Matters

Guest Editors: Stéphanie Dameron, Jane Lê and Curtis LeBaron

This special issue brings together three essays and six papers addressing the role of materiality in the practice of strategy. The editorial piece reviews five types of material used in strategy work (strategy tools, objects and artifacts, technologies, built spaces, and human bodies), outlines three different views of materiality that capture the ‘material turn’ in strategy (weak, moderate and strong view), and outlines exciting areas for research (micro-macro bridges, digitization and multimodality) driven by methodological innovation.

The essays were composed by three prominent scholars – Richard Whittington, Paul Leonardi and Paul Carlile – with the specific remit to reflect on the promise of a materiality lens and provoke our thinking on the topic. First, Whittington highlights the essential role of materiality in strategy practice by outlining three massifications in the strategy field. Second, Leonardi argues that the materiality lens helps scholars better understand how strategy formulation and strategy implementation activities are intertwined. Third, Carlile muses that materiality is inherently consequential because it endures in ways that continually remind us and accumulates in ways that cannot be ignored. These thought pieces lay a foundation for the papers that follow.

The six papers are an eclectic set of contributions that advances our understanding of strategy by employing a materiality lens. The special issue includes studies of micro-activities that analyse inter-individual interactions and studies of macro-practices that focus on the organisational level. In addition to the empirical and theoretical contributions of this work, the papers also advance our knowledge of the methods that may help scholars to better grasp and analyse materiality in strategy work. The following papers are included in the SI:

  • Jarzabkowski, Burke and Spee: “Constructing spaces for strategizing work: A multimodal perspective”
  • Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos: “Visual interactions with strategy tools: Producing strategic knowledge in workshops”
  • Werle and Seidl: “The layered materiality of strategizing: Epistemic objects and the interplay between material artefacts in the exploration of strategic topics“
  • Belmondo and Sargis-Roussel: “Negotiating language, meaning, and intention: Strategy infrastructure as the outcome of using a strategy tool through transforming strategy objects”
  • Thomas and Ambrosini: “Materializing strategy: A middle manager perspective on strategy formulation and implementation effectiveness”
  • Demir: “Strategic activity as bundled affordances”

The anticipated publication of the Special Issue is January 2015.

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