Reification of strategy in small and medium firms

Ates, Aylin (2017) Reification of strategy in small and medium firms. In: 33rd European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium, 2017-07-06 - 2017-07-08, Copenhagen Business School.

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Management research since early 2000s started to focus on expanding the scope of employee participation, empowerment and further unlocking employees’ ideas and creativity. Correspondingly, Chesbrough and Appleyard (2007) developed a new concept based on the notion of ‘open innovation’ which they called ‘open strategy’. They introduced open strategy as a concept which embraces the benefits of openness as a means of accelerating value creation for firms. It is also said to “widen the search for strategy ideas and improve commitment and understanding in strategy implementation” (Whittington, Cailluet, & Yakis‐Douglas, 2011, p. 535). Thus, an underlying theoretical framework for this study is that there is a trend towards greater openness in the strategy process, for which Chesbrough and Appleyard (2007) and Doz and Kosonen (2008) coined the term ‘open strategy’. This study identifies the role of visual strategy methods in implementing an open strategy paradigm in the unique context of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). Building on the processual theory and by adopting a longitudinal multiple case study methodology with 11 European manufacturing SMEs, we conceptualise open strategy in SMEs. This research argues for an orientation toward a novel method, the ‘Visual Strategy’ as a way of reification of strategy in SMEs.


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