Research

Our research interests focus on advancing the theoretical underpinnings of organizational studies both through the application of qualitative methodologies and the development of theoretical frameworks and models. The scope of our research covers several areas: (1) strategy-as-practice, (2) standardization, (3) routine dynamics, (4) top management team dynamics, (5) organizational spaces, and (6) the philosophy of science.

One of our major research areas is that of strategy-as-practice. In that context, we explore strategy as something that people in organizations do, rather than something that firms in their markets possess. Our main interest lies in investigating the countless day-to-day activities on the micro-level of organizations, through which strategy translates into practice, as well as how institutions shape these strategizing activities on the macro-level: strategists are not acting in isolation but are drawing upon the regular, socially defined modes of acting that arise from the plural social institutions to which they belong.

A second focal area of our research is standardization, understood as voluntarily adopted regulations that are formulated so that they apply to a wide set of actors. In this area, uncovering the dynamics involved in the processes of development, realization and enforcement of standards is at the top of our research agenda: we look closely at the various social interactions, political maneuvers and power relations that shape the production and implementation of standards.

Another main research area is the dynamics of organizational routines. Routines defined as repetitive recognizable patterns of action involving multiple participants play a significant role in organizations as they constitute one of the main building blocks of how organizations accomplish work and how they achieve particular outcomes. From a practice-theoretical perspective, we investigate closely the internal dynamics of routines that contribute to their stability and change over time. In addition, we also examine dynamics across several routines and how routines form bundles and ecologies.

Our research also focuses on top management team dynamics. By examining the activities and interactions of top managers in strategy process, we aim at generating a rich understanding of how strategy is shaped at the apex of an organization. More specifically, we examine how CEOs interact with other strategy actors within and outside their top management team. Our particular focus on the contextual, interpersonal, processual and temporal dynamics in strategic decision making can generate insights that help resolve the “black-box” problem frequently raised in strategic leadership research. 

A further research focus is organizational space. We want to understand better how the notion of space is used in organization studies and how it can be applied to provide a new perspective on organizational phenomena, such as strategy development and meetings. With our research on organizational space we aim to contribute to advancing and implementing the spatial turn in organization studies.

Another research area is "Open Strategy". Open strategy describes a variety of practices that promote more transparent and inclusive strategy-making. Transparency refers to openness in terms of information and communication, both internally and externally, such as Chief Executive blogs, town-halls or investor strategy updates. Inclusiveness refers to the involvement or participation in strategy-making of internal or external stakeholders from outside the usual senior management team, for example through strategy jams, wikis and workshops. Openness can be applied to both strategy-formation and strategy-implementation processes. From a practice-theoretical perspective, we investigate dimensions, dynamics, dilemmas and effects of openness on the strategy process.

In addition, we aim at developing a better understanding of the relationship between knowledge and practices developed in the academic field of management, as well as between the knowledge and practices applied in day-to-day business activity. By shedding light on these associations, we intend to contribute to the current debates in the philosophy of science.

We apply qualitative methods in most of our work: in order to conduct reliable analyses and build rich case studies, we typically collect our data from different sources though direct observation, interviews and documents. Our goal is to use these methods fruitfully, in order to generate new insights into our research topics, and contribute innovative ideas to the existing literature.