The recent turn of strategy research towards practice-based theorizing (Balogun et al. 2007; Johnson et al. 2003, 2007; Whittington 1996, 2006) has increased interest in the everyday micro-activities of strategy practitioners. Strategy, it is argued, is better conceptualized as something people do rather than something that firms in their markets have. The interest in what managers actually do has a long tradition in the field of strategy process, starting with the seminal studies of Mintzberg (1973). Yet, in contrast to earlier research on organizational practices (Dalton 1959; Kotter 1982; Mintzberg, 1973), which emphasized the informal side of managerial work, the Strategy as Practice approach – whilst acknowledging the importance of emergence – calls for a reappreciation of the role of formal strategic practices. As Whittington (2003, p. 118) argued, formal practices deserve our particular attention for two reasons: not only are they pervasive phenomena in organizational life – a large part of organizational activity is in some way concerned with formal practices – but they also inflict considerable costs on the respective organizations. Responding to such calls, several researchers have looked into the organizational effects of various formal practices such as different administrative routines (Jarzabkowski 2003, 2005; Jarzabkowski and Wilson 2002) or strategy meetings (Jarzabkowski and Seidl 2008), discussing their role in organizational strategizing.
More recently, attention has begun to centre on the role of strategy workshops as a particular formal strategic practice.
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