Sub-theme 05: (SWG) Strategizing Activity and Practice: Connecting the Material to the Social

Charlotte Cloutier
HEC Montreal, Canada
Paula Jarzabkowski
Aston Business School, UK / S&TS, Cornell University, USA
Andreas Paul Spee
UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Australia

Call for Papers

From the strategy-as-practice perspective, strategy is something that "people do, with stuff, in societies" (Whittington, 2007). Strategy-as-practice researchers have consequently looked at people (strategy practitioners) and what they do while engaging in strategy work (strategy praxis). They have also become increasingly interested in how strategy practices are enacted and re-enacted on a day-to-day basis in organizations, and how they are embedded within wider levels of society. Strategy is thus viewed as the nexus between strategy practitioners, strategy praxis and strategy practices. Largely absent from this picture however is the "stuff" of strategizing, the material artefacts, objects, tools and technologies which are part and parcel of the social practice of strategy (Jarzabkowski & Whittington, 2008). This dearth of research in the field of strategy-as-practice mirrors a wider neglect of the inherently sociomaterial nature of organizing in organizational theory (Leonardi & Barley, 2010; Orlikowski & Scott, 2008).

In this year's EGOS Strategizing, Activity, and Practice sub-theme we wish to explore the various ways in which sociomateriality – in the form of everyday enactment of objects, tools, artefacts, bodies, spaces, infrastructure and technologies in strategy work – might enhance our understanding of strategizing activity and practice.

In keeping with the theme, we invite papers from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches that apply a sociomaterial lens to the study of strategizing activities and practice. Related questions might include but are not restricted to the following:

  • How do strategy tools, objects, bodies and artefacts mediate the activities of strategizing and organizing?
  • What effect does the use of various artefacts and material objects have on strategizing? How do these effects vary on account of when and how organizational actors use them or on account of who uses (or misuses) them?
  • What role do artefacts, technologies and other objects play in enabling and constraining the occurrence of strategizing across time and space?
  • How are sociomaterial objects implicated in strategizing in different contexts (e.g. globally dispersed organizations; virtual organizations, etc.)? What factors integrate or disrupt sociomaterial relations of strategizing and with what effect on the work of strategy?
  • What are the performative capacities of sociomaterial objects in strategizing?
  • What impact do various sociomaterial assemblages (the bundle of objects and their associated practices of use) have on strategizing activities in organizations?
  • What are the methodological implications for analysing sociomaterial relations in organizations?
  • How can we better conceptualize sociomateriality and its various interpretations in the field of strategy as practice? What new questions does it open and enable us to answer?

The topics outlined here give room for a variety of possible contributions to the theme of this year's Strategy-as-practice sub-theme and we hope that they will inspire exciting new research in strategy. Authors should note however that because EGOS has acted as an important forum for the development of strategy-as-practice scholarship through the work conducted within the standing working group, strategy-as-practice papers offering contributions beyond the scope of the current theme are also welcomed. 



Jarzabkowski, Paula & Richard Whittington (2008): 'Hard to disagree, mostly.' Strategic Organization, 6 (1), 101–106.
Leonardi, Paul & Stephen Barley (2010): 'What's under construction? Social action, materiality and power in constructivist studies of technology and organizing.' Academy of Management Annals, 4 (1), 1–51.
Orlikowski, Wanda & Susan Scott (2008): 'Sociomateriality: challenging the separation of technology, work and organization.' Academy of Management Annals, 2 (1), 433–474.
Whittington, Richard (2007): 'Strategy practice and strategy process: family differences and the sociological eye.' Organization Studies, 28 (10), 1575–1586.


Charlotte Cloutier is Assistant Professor of Strategy at HEC Montréal, Canada. Her research focuses on strategizing in pluralistic contexts, notably industry associations, nonprofits, hospitals and universities.
Paula Jarzabkowski is Professor of Strategic Management at Aston Business School (UK), and a Marie Curie International Fellow, which she is taking at Cornell University (USA). Her research focuses on the social practices of strategy-making, particularly using ethnographic methods.
Andreas Paul Spee is a Senior Lecturer in Strategy at The University of Queensland in Australia. His research interests revolve around the role of artefacts, such as strategy tools and strategic plans, in strategizing.