Sub-theme 61: Strategy-as-Practice: Cognition, Emotions and Strategy Practice

Julia Balogun
Bath School of Management, UK
Jane K. Lê
University of Sydney Business School, Australia
Feng Liu
Warwick Business School, UK

Call for Papers

Strategy-as-practice (SAP) researchers view strategy as a social activity; in other words, as something that members of an organization actually do. As such, the focus of research in this area has been on the micro-activities and interactions of actors in and around the organization, both in terms of what actors do in practice and how they accomplish it. Due to this explicit focus on activity, SAP scholars have dedicated significant effort to understanding strategic behaviour. This has yielded extremely valuable insights. However, it has also partially overshadowed other important types of practices, including cognition and emotion. While there has been some emphasis on cognition, largely through the work on strategic decision-making, change and sensemaking, emotion has only very recently started receiving attention.

This sub-theme thus calls on scholars to advance our understanding of strategy practice by producing research that illuminates the link between cognition, emotion and behaviour in strategy. Studies of cognition have demonstrated that meaning-making processes are critical to how strategy is conceptualised and executed (Balogun & Johnson, 2004; 2005; Rouleau, 2005; Rouleau & Balogun, 2011). Cognitive frames are an important element of this (Balogun & Johnson, 2004; Kaplan, 2008). Studies of emotion have demonstrated that emotional dynamics influence interpretations of strategy and thereby how strategy is enacted. For instance, Liu and Maitlis (2014) show that displayed emotion affects strategizing by influencing how issues are discussed and which decisions made (see also Samra-Fredericks, 2004). Cognition and emotion are thus clearly important in strategy processes. However, they must be better understood; particularly their link with strategic behaviour.

It is this link we focus on in our call for papers. In particular, we seek papers that explore the reciprocal relationship between cognition, emotion and strategy behaviour. Possible topics for contributions include, but are not restricted to:

  • The relationship between cognition and strategy practice
  • The relationship between emotion and strategy practice
  • The relationship between behaviour and strategy practice
  • The link between cognition, emotion and behaviour in strategy
  • How emotion influences cognition and behaviour in a strategic context
  • How cognition influences strategy, emotion and behaviour in a strategic context
  • How behaviour influences strategy, cognition and emotion in a strategic context

We also welcome papers on other strategy-as-practice topics, including conceptual and empirical papers utilizing a range of methodological approaches. For more information on the practice perspective on strategizing, please see

In order to encourage far-reaching participation, effective discussion and developmental feedback, we will utilize various session formats, including:

  • Introductory panel with keynote speakers
  • Standard paper sessions of three to four presentations for those papers that are either very well developed or that raise topical issues for discussion
  • Interactive roundtable paper sessions with four to five papers per table, to provide small group feedback and developmental discussion
  • Concluding panel with keynote presenters

As this will be the year the SAP Research Community Platform (RCP) is launched, the closing panel will be forward-looking, drawing on past community activity in order to draw out particular ways forward for this new EGOS format. All sub-theme subscribers will be informed about Colloquium and pre-Colloquium activities arising out of the RCP initiative.




  • Balogun, J., & Johnson, G. (2004): "Organizational restructuring and middle manager sensemaking." Academy of Management Journal, 47 (4), 523–549.
  • Balogun, J., & Johnson, G. (2005): "From intended strategy to unintended outcomes: The impact of change recipient sensemaking." Organization Studies, 26 (11), 1573–1602.
  • Kaplan, S. (2008): "Framing contests: Strategy making under uncertainty." Organization Science, 19 (5), 729–752.
  • Liu, F., & Maitlis, S. (2014): "Emotional dynamics and strategizing processes: A study of strategic conversations in top team meetings." Journal of Management Studies, 51 (2), 202–234.
  • Rouleau, L. (2005): "Micro-practices of strategic sensemaking and sensegiving: How middle managers interpret and sell change every day." Journal of Management Studies, 42 (7), 1413–1441.
  • Rouleau, L., & Balogun, J. (2011): "Middle managers, strategic sensemaking, and discursive competence." Journal of Management Studies, 48 (5), 953–983.
  • Samra-Fredericks, D. (2004): "Managerial elites making rhetorical and linguistic ‘moves’ for a moving (emotional) display." Human Relations, 57 (9), 1103–1143.



Julia Balogun is Professor of Strategy at the University of Bath School of Management, UK. She has research interests in the field of cognition, organization and strategy and has published in top-tier journals such as the 'Academy of Management Journal', 'British Journal of Management', 'Journal of International Business Studies', 'Journal of Management Studies' and 'Organization Studies'.
Jane K. Lê is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management, University of Sydney Business School, Australia. She has research interests in the field of organization and strategy practice and has published in top-tier journals such as 'Organization Science', 'Strategic Organization' and 'Organization'. She has been leading the EGOS Strategy-as-Practice Research Community Platform proposal.
Feng Liu is Assistant Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School, UK. She has research interests in the field of emotions, organization and strategy and her work has been published in the 'Journal of Management Studies'.