Different Perspectives on Strategizing - Theory and Practical Use of Strategy Tools

PhD Thesis

Schneemann, P. (2019). Different Perspectives on Strategizing - Theory and Practical Use of Strategy Tools. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Business
AuthorsSchneemann, P.
TypePhD Thesis

A recent development in strategic management research focuses on the use of strategy tools in practice, which is associated with the strategy-as-practice (SasP) field. Despite some promising
studies, the application, meaning and usage of strategy tools have not been explored sufficiently. A practice perspective in strategy research requires a focus on practitioners and their strategizing practices to understand why and how they apply strategy tools. To accomplish that, the utilization of strategy tools was analyzed while looking at different types of practitioners. Overall, the research aimed to review existing strategizing theory and to give strategists a better understanding of the use of strategy tools in practice.
The grounded theory methodology was employed to analyze and interpret the investigated social phenomenon of strategy tools-in-use and to explain the everyday experiences of social actors. In this context, an exploratory sequential multi-phase design was employed, which enabled the inclusion of three different data collection stages: semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire, and a focus group.
Each preceding stage subsequently informed and directed the proceeding one, which is why it was possible to triangulate the results and create more validity. The theory-related findings enabled the explanation and revision of the term definitions for
strategizing, strategy-as-practice and strategy tools. Moreover, the limitations of current strategy-as-practice research have been identified, which clarified that research needs to provide a closer look at basic strategizing activities and take a true practice perspective by including every strategist involved. Based on the practice-related findings it was possible to outline and update the strategy toolkit to express which strategy tools are most commonly known and used. In addition, it was discovered that the main reason practitioners apply strategy tools is to provide a clear structure. In contrast, the reason tools are most commonly avoided is that they tend to oversimplify issues. It was also found that strategy tools are applied as part of a dedicated strategy process and mostly during strategic planning, meaning before making strategic decisions. Further discussion focused on whether tools are used to post-rationalize strategic decision. Most practitioners claimed to apply tools to reach rational decisions but pointed out that post-rationalization exists to justify some decisions
and actions. Lastly, the role and effectiveness of strategy tools-in-use was explored. The effectiveness of strategy tools is dependent on various determinants, such as their acceptance, the practitioner applying them, the context or situation organizations are confronted with, the available content, but also their adaptation. In the future, tools need to develop in different ways to maintaintheir importance and value.
With its unique research design, this research contributes to a better understanding of strategy tools-in-use by focusing on different practitioner perspectives. On this basis, determinants for the use of strategy tools were identified, which should be regarded as the prerequisites for more efficient, but also more effective strategy work by organizations and their strategists.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
File Access Level
Publication dates
Print28 Oct 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Dec 2022
Additional information

This research programme was carried out in collaboration
with University of Applied Sciences Mainz

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