Process research in strategy formation : theory, methodology, and relevance

Sminia, Harry (2009) Process research in strategy formation : theory, methodology, and relevance. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11 (1). pp. 97-125. ISSN 1460-8545

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This paper develops a view of the strategy formation process, drawing on a review of contributions that are based on a process approach, and more specifically the work of Henry Mintzberg, Andrew Pettigrew and Andrew Van de Ven. This view is meant to provide a way to bridge the content–process gap in strategic management by addressing the aspects of process theory and process methodology. Structuration is found to provide a useful theoretical basis for strategy formation research. Process methodology is found to be about discovering valid generative mechanisms that explain regular patterns in event sequences. Strategy formation research can then be made relevant for management practice by providing insight with regard to generative mechanisms and associated process trajectories of continuity and change, to allow for judgements on the favourability of the course of the process as well as the necessity to intervene or to let the process run its course.