Openness disposition and dilemmas in SME strategy: a sudden breeze of passion or a promising management practice?

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The purpose of this paper is to gain deeper understanding into the dilemmas of Open Strategy (OS) initiatives, and investigate the already established dilemmas and identify further, if any in the context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Central to our examination is the concept of 'openness disposition', which in the context of strategy refers to the tendency of individuals, collectives and managers to make strategy transparent, participatory and inclusive, or look for closure. We contribute to addressing the performative effects of this dynamic expansion and contraction in openness within SME strategy while using the concept of openness dilemmas and disposition. While OS is regarded as a positive means of contemporary management, fostering creativity, innovation and empowerment, there are some researched negative areas too. By using Paradox Theory to gain a deeper understanding of OS dilemmas, this paper will bring together theory with practitioners' experiences of OS initiatives. Based on findings emerging from a longitudinal multiple case study with eleven European SMEs, we empirically identify two new dilemmas, which are theorised to extend understanding of the dilemmas of OS.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020
EventEuropean Academy of Management Conference - Online, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 4 Dec 20206 Dec 2020


ConferenceEuropean Academy of Management Conference
Internet address


  • open strategy
  • SMEs
  • participation
  • inclusion
  • transparency


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