Strategy emergence as wayfinding
Bouty, Isabelle; Gomez, Marie-Léandre; Chia, Robert (2019), Strategy emergence as wayfinding, M@n@gement, 22, 3, p. 438-465
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
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Dauphine Recherches en Management [DRM]
ESSEC Business School
Abstract (EN)Strategy researchers increasingly recognize that in many organizations strategic coherence can emerge inadvertently from local coping actions and decisions taken “on the hoof”. However, how this actually happens in practice has not been sufficiently examined andexplained. We draw from the “practice turn” in social theory to show howstrategy can emerge through a process of wayfinding involving localadaptive actions taken guided by an internalized habitus or modusoperandi. Small iterative changes made oftentimes at operational levelscan generate positive unintended consequences that ultimately contributetowards the emergence of a coherent and viable strategy. We empiricallyinvestigate the case of a high-end gourmet restaurant in the extremelystructured field of haute cuisine, examining everyday practices, actionsand ongoing improvisations made in relation to the individuals concerned,their professionally socialized selves, the unique set of organizationalcircumstances they face, and the institutional and environmental demandsplaced on them. We show how strategy as a consistent pattern of actionscan emerge from this synergistic interweaving of local coping actions andtheir unintended consequences. We thus contribute to strategy research byproposing a model of strategy emergence as wayfinding that considers theactors’ social embeddedness, their internalized habitus and how thatpredisposes them to respond by itinerantly interweaving seemingly smallcoping actions to unexpectedly produce a coherent strategy.
Subjects / Keywordswayfinding process; practice; haute cuisine restaurant; purposive; habitus
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