Exploring & developing strategy theory through practice

Eden, Colin and Ackermann, Fran (2014) Exploring & developing strategy theory through practice. In: 74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 2014-08-03 - 2014-08-05.

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The last decade has seen an increasing concern with research being relevant as well as rigorous. In the strategy field this demand has seen the growth of interests in Strategy-as-Practice (SaP). SaP has concentrated on micro studies of what goes on in organizations as managers strategize. In this paper we explore an alternative approach that seeks to understand strategy-in-practice where managers and researchers attempt to operationalize strategy theory/concepts to impact strategy in practice. In this paper we illustrate one way of delivering relevance and rigour through applying Action Research and Design Science to two examples: operationalizing the descriptive theories of i) emergent strategizing, and ii) the Resource Based View. In addition we present the key findings from these two extensive programmes of research: deliberate emergent strategizing means strategy emerging from the prioritisation of key issues; competitive advantage derives from the identification of a manageable network of competences revealing potential core competences and sustainable business models.