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Raed Aleid

DBA Graduate - 2018

Thesis title

A Distributed Perspective of Strategy Thinking and Making in Organizations at the TMT Level: The Case of ‘AL’


Damon Golsorkhi
This research aims to contribute to the empirical understanding of the craft of strategy between the middle and top management, in other words, the ‘strategy work’ in an organization. In general, researchers have massive difficulty to access the top management circles for “in vivo” observations in private companies which has produced a scientific gap as the craft of strategy hasn’t been tackled in strategy research, neither in strategy as practice nor in top management team (TMT) and strategy process research field streams. Consequently, the lack of literature brought us to opt for an abductive research design which aims is to explore unexplored research territories and eventually induce new knowledge and insights. As an insider and the advantage of having full access to the field, we have adopted a multi-method qualitative approach based on a large ethnography combining longitudinal single case study, with direct observation, interviews both formal and informal, and secondary data. We also adopted three modes of result generation based on grounded theory method for the formal interviews, analytic ethnography combining interviews, secondary data and direct observations, and finally a purely interpretative ethnography. From this (never done before) threefold empirical findings, we developed an empirical model which has shown the centrality of distribution in strategy work by putting forward different dimensions: emotions, culture, competence and skill evolution, material and symbolic incentives, the role of meetings, tools, social interactions, culture, and politics.Then, we came up with an original theorization which shows that strategy thinking and making is dependent on the large network of skills, context, motivation, agents, culture, tools, politics and timing. This network is distributed within and between hierarchical levels. Finally, based on our empirical findings and the proposed theoretical framework, we have put forward our contribution to the scientific literature of strategy, but also, we have tackled with some new ideas and managerial recommendations of how we could improve the craft of strategy in an organization. Finally, we set up the limits and the future research agenda as this work is opening a whole new area of research in strategy. Keywords: Abductive Design, Qualitative Research, Top Management Teams (TMT), Middle Managers, Craft of Strategy, Distributed Model.