Exploring & developing strategy theory through practice

Colin Eden, Fran Ackermann

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The last decade has seen an increasing concern with research being relevant as well as rigorous. In the strategy field this demand has seen the growth of interests in Strategy-as-Practice (SaP). SaP has concentrated on micro studies of what goes on in organizations as managers strategize. In this paper we explore an alternative approach that seeks to understand strategy-in-practice where managers and researchers attempt to operationalize strategy theory/concepts to impact strategy in practice. In this paper we illustrate one way of delivering relevance and rigour through applying Action Research and Design Science to two examples: operationalizing the descriptive theories of i) emergent strategizing, and ii) the Resource Based View. In addition we present the key findings from these two extensive programmes of research: deliberate emergent strategizing means strategy emerging from the prioritisation of key issues; competitive advantage derives from the identification of a manageable network of competences revealing potential core competences and sustainable business models.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Event74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management - Philadelphia, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Aug 20145 Aug 2014


Conference74th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • action research
  • emergent strategy
  • design science


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