Strategy workshops with wider participation: trust as enabler
Journal article, 2021
Purpose A wider participation from outside the top management team can support the strategy creation and execution of firms through improving access to knowledge, increasing innovativeness and creating legitimacy for the strategy. However, creating a climate of trust where ideas are freely expressed and challenged is easier said than done. This paper thus focuses on trust in strategizing, in particular in strategy workshops with wider participation. Design/methodology/approach The analysis is based on qualitative data from 10 strategy-making processes consisting of a total of 28 strategy workshops. Data were collected through interviews and joint reflections with the leaders, external facilitators and consultants, as well as through action research. Findings This study identifies three factors that influence trust in strategy workshops with wider participation, namelyopening up the conversation,clarity of the participative processanddelivering with honest intent. These factors could play crucial roles in creating the trust needed for wider participation in strategy workshops. Practical implications This paper provides strategy actors (e.g. leaders, consultants) with actionable knowledge about what strategy workshops with a wider circle of participants require to create trust. Originality/value This study relates to the ongoing and increased interest in openness for strategy-as-practice in general and open strategy in particular. Moreover, it contributes to the discussion that the boundaries between strategizing and change tend to become blurry. Therefore, the present paper contributes to the theory and practice of strategy creation, strategy execution and change by investigating wider participation in strategy workshops.