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Extending the reach of strategy as practice through dynamic capabilities

MacKay, David and Ackermann, Fran (2011) Extending the reach of strategy as practice through dynamic capabilities. In: Strategic Management Society Conference, 2011-11-06 - 2011-11-09. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

With a focus on what people actually do in relation to making and managing strategy, (Johnson et al, 2008), a strategy as practice (SaP) perspective has the potential to make a contribution to strategic management literature and practice by providing “a valuable alternative to the hitherto dominant institutional and resource-based approaches to strategy research” (Chia, 2004, p29). However, by adopting broad definitions of central concepts (see figure 1 below), SaP empirical studies tend to try “to explain too much”, potentially obscuring the practical relevance of empirical findings (Regnér (2008, p584)). As such, SaP research studies would arguably benefit from augmentation by alternative theoretical perspectives as a means to generate more focused empirical findings and also deepen explanatory potential by linking into broader strategic management literature (Jarzabkowski and Spee, 2009). On this basis and in relation to the conference track theme of “How can we better leverage a multi-disciplinary approach to inform and advance the strategy practice agenda?”, our proposal is that the reach of the SaP perspective could be usefully extended through overlapping concepts and extant empirical findings from the Dynamic Capabilities (DC) perspective (where dynamic capability refers to the ““the capacity of an organization to purposefully create, extend or modify its resource base” (Helfat et al 2007, p4). Extending the arguments of Regnér (2008) and Ambrosini and Bowman (2009), we find from literature that the SaP and DC perspectives have a number of compatible focal concepts. We explicate a selection of these concepts and through an example, show how a DC perspective can