Tactics as a turbulent mode of strategizing on the move: an alternative review of the literature

David MacKay, Mike Zundel

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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    In academic writing, strategy tends to be represented as the ordering, controlling and purposefully arranging repertoire of higher organisational echelons whilst tactics remain the domain of lower hierarchical ranks, charged with executing the grand plans of strategy and muddling through the challenges of everyday life. Through a review of the management literature addressing the relationship between strategy and tactics, we build an alternative view of tactics as homologous to the turbulent nature of the environment with which they interact, and as an adaptive mode of strategizing. Borrowing an innovative meta-analysis method from anthropologist Gregory Bateson’s work, we expose a constraining difference in kind, as well as degree, of representations of strategy and tactics in the management literature. We conclude our developmental paper by urging a rejection of prevailing taxonomical tendencies, and an embrace of processual thinking, as we continue to develop, research and communicate our ideas on strategy and tactics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
    EventBritish Academy of Management Conference 2013 - Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Sept 201313 Sept 2013


    ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Conference 2013
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • strategy
    • tactics
    • strategizing on the move


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