Strategy-as-Practice Viewpoint

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Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos (2015) conducted a study on the way in which executives visually interrelate with strategy tools especially in workshops to develop information about strategic issues. The investigation was enabled through recent developments in the strategy-as-practice viewpoints. It also assesses how the practitioners utilize strategy tools (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.49). More importantly, the strategy tools for the purpose of this study include methods, models, and concepts adopted by the management in the process of making strategy such as SWOT, Porter’s five forces, and BCG matrix. The makers of strategy interact with strategy tools to determine when and how tools are applied and selected. Strategy tools contain affordances that affect the manner in which managers handle the deliberations of strategic matters. Visual interactions are used to describe the processes of exemplified interactions that can be recorded in visual forms. In particular, the study sought to explore how a senior management team formulates a strategy tool from the video data when attending a workshop. The research is based on the fact that workshop serves as a ground where a visual relationship with strategy instruments occur.  The researchers initiated a primary research, which involved developing visual pattern studies and strategy-as-practice viewpoint. Based on the study findings, there are three distinct arrangements of visual interactions, which include assembly, inertia, and shift. The research attempts to fill the gap by exploring the utilization of a strategy tool by because there are an inadequate hypothetical explanation and scientific understanding of the process occurring when executives visually intermingle with strategy tools participating in workshops.

Methodology

The study encompassed the collection of data on the utilization of a strategy tool from medium-sized companies (SkillsCo) particularly when a workshop is in progress intended to achieve strategic review. The research methods entailed the utilization of the various set of data sources fundamentally video evidence to investigate the manner in which strategy tool is formulated and applied to generate information about strategic matters by monitoring the visual interrelations between the tool and the participants of the workshop (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.50). SkillCo was assisting disadvantaged persons back into an occupation by providing training on skills and posting services.

The first level in the study comprised a strategy workshop with the senior management team of SkillCo consist of seven members. The general aim of the workshop was to accomplish a mutual understanding of the strategic context of SkillsCo prior to comprehensive review of the firm’s reinforcing functional arena was commenced. It guaranteed that the concluding choice of which effective enhancement programmes to execute was acceptable to stakeholders (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.50). The strategic map was the specific tool applied in the workshop. It was designed with Group Explorer, which is computer software that integrates problem-configuring mechanism to reinforce teams engaging in strategy work. In so doing, the investigator acquired an opportunity to acquire study data from the managers’ workshop through an opportunistic method to a collection of data (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.51).

More significantly, the opportunistic collection of data enabled the researchers to obtain an optimal advantage of the unusual chances to acquire data on the utilization of strategy tools during workshops (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.52). The team gathered in the workshop room, which enabled it to manage the consoles and gather the contributions of the managers. In this regard, the contributions of the team were collected both through the facilitator and anonymously via the consoles. Additionally, the facilitator assisted in structuring the contributions of the team members through the causal mapping mechanism (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.49).

The researcher obtained permission from SkillsCo to record videos in the workshop. In addition, the investigator sought consent from the team members to audio- and video-record the workshop prior to the commencement of the session. Later, the collected information was completely transcribed (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.52). The researchers also stored a diary of crucial events prior to and at the end of the workshop where conversations with persons of the consulting company were summarized. Furthermore, observational notes were made directly from the happenings of the workshop while post-workshop interviews were also conducted to determine the perspectives of team members on the strategy tool applied and the process of the workshop. Seven interviews were successfully initiated and data collected was transcribed(Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.53).

Data analysis was conducted using the philosophies of the iterative-inductive method to the building of theory. The researcher performed a repeated and close scrutiny of video recording and transcript of the workshop (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.54). The analysis entailed identification of strategic themes through the Group Explorer logs and workshop assignments. Visual interaction with the team members was counted as coded utilizing the inductively designed coding segments. Consequently, conceptual elaboration was developed into three unique patterns in the manner information was mutually formulated, reproduced or shared. Finally, the researcher sought to describe the occurrence of the patterns by depicting on the information on affordances to deliberate on the effect of the strategy tool on the visual interactions of managers (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.55).

Reasons/evidence

The findings discovered three patterns in the workshop, which include shift, inertia, and assembly. The researchers also discovered four groups of visual interactions in the three patterns. Precisely, the shift pattern featured visual interactions that facilitated team members to change, test, and articulate their minds concerning the strategic issues meaning and their relations (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.56). In the course of their discussions, the team members participated on actor-activated interactions to defy each other explicitly, utilizing tool-induced interactions to reinforce their personal inventions at certain points, which empowered them to slowly unite towards new information and understandings. The visual interactions include tool-triggered such as tool-contained and tool-to-actor and actor-triggered such as actor-to-tool and actor-contained. The visual interactions of the team members helped them to both negotiate and articulate their particular formulations. For instance, the study noted that the visual interactions using tool-triggered relations marked the commencement of a slow turn towards a new collective agreement and understanding (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.57). Ultimately, a shift away from the initial conflicting perspectives was noted leading to a new collective knowledge and understanding. Importantly, the study established that the preliminary debate related to the occurrence of an association between matter related to ownership decisions and succession planning entailed two opposing viewpoints which were both defeated in an open discussion. Such preceding opinions were made clear through actor-triggered interrelations and slowly left by persons promoting them via tool-triggered interactions at a certain period.

The Inertia pattern encompassed engagement of team members particularly in tool-triggered interrelations to control and render certain knowledge and interpretations concerning their relationship and strategic matters. The participants contested the meaning and association of strategic matters related to planning for succession and the growth of executives to meet challenges (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.59). Therefore, they demanded the facilitator to combine or discard some issues illustrated on the map since they were considered similar to others on the map.

The assembly pattern featured managers’ involvement in a balanced combination of tool-triggered and actor-triggered visual interactions that assisted them to gather their domain-appropriate information in a non-conflictive and coordinated way (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.60). No contradictory opinions were evident in the course of the debate and actors had a duty-focused orientation to manipulating and using the tool leading to an effective advancement of mutual meaning and shared knowledge. Therefore, the executives had similar information related to reward issues, development and staff turnover (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.61).

Conclusion

The investigators were determined to comprehend the strategy tools utilized by managers and the manner in which individual visually interrelate with strategy tools to generate information during workshops. To solve such scarcities in the background of strategy workshop is essential in the debates on strategic management (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.63). Strategy workshops contain the dialogues between actors of the matters of strategic significance for a firm. In this respect, they represent a suitable research setting for the controlled examination of the techniques strategy tools are used and created by executives during debates on strategic matters.

Based on the study findings, in the shift pattern, managers are involved in contrasting opinions and mainly participate in action-triggered interactions to disagree with each other openly. In addition, tool-triggered visual interactions are embraced to reinforce their personal formulations at a certain point of the workshop (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.64). In the inertia pattern, conflicting standpoints are apparent and executives participate in mainly tool-triggered visual interaction to the manager and render certain knowledge and interpretations on strategic matters. finally, the assembly pattern does not manifest any conflicting views hence there is a balanced display of tool-triggered and actor-triggered visual interactions that empower them to accumulate a mutual gratitude of some issues in a non-conflictive and coordinated way (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.65). The work is beneficial because it provides the theoretical explanation of the way people visually interrelate with strategy tools and provides leeway to visual arrangement and strategy as a practice.

Logic

The study is based on the assumptions that the team members’ behaviours and actions were a reflection of their interaction with strategy tools. In additions, the researchers assumed that the video data during a workshop of one company was effective in capturing their visual interactions in terms of assembly, inertia, and shift. The researcher demonstrates the accountability of data collected during the research process (Paroutis, Franco and Papadopoulos 2015, p.59). Data obtained from observational and interviews were accounted for in the reporting of information. The perspectives from managers of other companies remain unconsidered when making conclusions. The researcher did not make any logical flaws in the presentation of the arguments of the study.

References

Paroutis, S., Franco, L.A. and Papadopoulos, T., 2015. Visual interactions with strategy tools: producing strategic knowledge in workshops. British Journal of Management, 26(S1).

January 19, 2024
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