Negotiating Language, Meaning and Intention: Strategy Infrastructure as the Outcome of Using a Strategy Tool through Transforming Strategy Objects

Abstract : This research examines how managers collectively use strategy tools in local contexts. Building on a practice approach, we argue that the situated use of formal strategy tools is a process of negotiation, materially mediated by provisional strategy objects. We conceptualize strategy tools and objects as having three aspects: language, meaning and intention. Managers use strategy tools successfully if they ultimately create an accepted strategy infrastructure; this final strategy object materializes the (maybe partial) agreement across all three aspects. We theoretically define three processes according to the primary focus of negotiation and illustrate them with empirical vignettes: abstraction/specification, contextualization/de-contextualization and distortion/conformation. We propose a process model of the collective use of strategy tools that integrates the three processes of negotiation and the shifting roles of provisional strategy objects, namely boundary, epistemic and activity. This research thus offers three theoretical contributions. First, it contributes to the material turn of strategy theory by providing a unified conceptualization of strategy tools, objects and infrastructure. Second, the model offers a basis for analyzing how macro-level formal strategy tools get collectively adapted at a micro-level through negotiation processes and transformations of strategy objects. Third, our research explains why some strategy tools are used but their outputs are not.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 17, 2017 - 11:32:52 AM
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Cécile Belmondo, Caroline Sargis-Roussel. Negotiating Language, Meaning and Intention: Strategy Infrastructure as the Outcome of Using a Strategy Tool through Transforming Strategy Objects. British Journal of Management, Wiley, 2015, 26, pp.S90--S104. 〈10.1111/1467-8551.12070〉. 〈hal-01563045〉

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