Exploring the concept of strategy using a practice lens: The case of a large construction company

University dissertation from Chalmers University of Technology

Abstract: Ever since its origins back in the 1960´s, strategy researchers have been engaged in an ongoing discussion about what strategy actually means. Over the historical development of the strategic-management field strategy has gone from something that top managers formulated; it has gone from including a rather limited analytical process, to being a pattern in streams of actions and to encompass a myriad of strategic micro processes. The aim of this thesis has been to explore the strategy concept. To do this, a Strategy-as-Practice (SAP) lens was applied on empirical findings from a large construction company. SAP is a rather recent stream of research which portrays strategy as a socially constructed activity inherent to organizational life. Based on this perspective this thesis has considered strategy and organizational life as two closely related phenomena. Using a narrative and interpretative approach, practices were explored on the micro-level in order to identify the “blood vessels” of organizational life. The empirical data has been collected using an ethnographic longitudinal case study in a large Swedish construction company. The findings are presented in three appended papers and contribute by highlighting current micro-practices that may explain industry specific traits. A final in-depth discussion contributes to strategy research by highlighting what parts of the empirical findings could strengthen current theory and what parts indicate theoretical gaps.