Strategy work in a large construction company: personified strategies as drivers för change
Paper in proceedings, 2011
Strategizing can be seen as a balancing act between aggregating knowledge and experiences from an organization’s past business cycles and forecasting future possibilities over a longer period of time. Yet knowledge about strategizing over business cycles and in rapidly changing market conditions in the construction sector is scarce. This paper takes a micro perspective on strategizing and examines individual narratives of change processes to identify driving factors. The empirical data is part of an ongoing longitudinal case study in a large construction company on strategizing over business cycles from 1990 until today. The study comprises in-depth interviews with 14 key actors and a wide range of documentation covering the period. The Strategy-as-Practice perspective serves well as a retrospective description of strategizing over time; understanding the dynamics that underlie the various strategic changes is a matter of understanding what the strategists have done. The paper shows that strategy processes mainly are related to a few individuals (mostly the CEO’s), rather than to the activities or rationale behind them. This paper contributes a novel perspective on the strategy literature in construction by emphasizing personified strategies as drivers for change. We argue that personified strategies are an intra-organizational phenomenon related to power distribution, governance, and the tensions between individual agency and the institutionalized context.
strategy as practice