Kun strategiapöhinä tuli taloon: Tapaustutkimus strategioinnin kehittymisestä pluralistisessa asiantuntijaorganisaatiossa

Sanna Nokelainen

    Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisMonograph

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    Strategizing – i.e. the construction of strategy through social (inter)action – has been subject to relatively little academic scrutiny specifically in pluralistic expert organizations such as universities. Simultaneously, changes in universities’ operating environment, increasing managerialism and market-like pressures have increased the perceived need for strategic management also in universities. This, in turn, is manifested in various and substantial activities in and around strategizing – a phenomenon which I here call ‘strategy buzz’. Thus, the aim of this study is to increase our understanding about strategizing in the university context, including how it develops over time, and what outcomes it brings about. In addition, the aim is to facilitate the actual management of such organizations through this increased understanding.

    The research strategy of this study is premised on a longitudinal single-case setting, because the research task necessitates rich informational access and close observational contact with the focal phenomenon. This research setup also enabled accumulating broad and rich data concerning how the internal and external stakeholders of the organization perceive the arrival of the ‘strategy buzz’ to the case organization, and the assessment of the implications such perceptions have for future strategizing within the organization. This study falls under the Strategy-as-Practice research tradition in the spirit of which the study is qualitative by nature and conducted with characteristically qualitative research methodology. In the analysis symbolic interactionism was used as a guiding perspective.

    The results of the study indicate that supra-organizational practices have a significant and temporally increasing influence on the strategizing of the focal organization. In particular, societal discourses such as management by results, competition and change discourses appear especially prominent in this regard. The results also indicate that highly formalized and systems-mediated strategizing is not very appropriate in a pluralistic expert organization, because management control systems, for instance, and the perceived ‘mechanization’ of organizational life in general appear to create confusion and even disempowerment in a pluralistic expert organization. In other words, highly systems-mediated strategizing does not seem to be conducive towards inducing creativity and working towards shared organizational goals even if the managerial intentions behind such rigidly formalized and ‘mechanized’ strategizing are well-meaning.

    The results of the study also suggest that strategizing in pluralistic expert organizations has some distinct qualities, which are not generally present in the context of contemporary profit-seeking corporate organizations. Such distinct qualities include e.g., cultural diversity and multivocality which, in turn, necessitate that strategizing in pluralistic expert organizations should be permissible and based on co-creation, instead of being manifested in a hegemonic strategy discourse which is generally perceived to originate from the top management.
    Original languageFinnish
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    Number of pages271
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-3695-3
    ISBN (Print)978-952-15-3681-6
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2016
    Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

    Publication series

    NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    ISSN (Print)1459-2045

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