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On the risk of studying practices in isolation: Linking what, who and how in strategy research

Jarzabkowski, P., Kaplan, S., Seidl, D. & Whittington, R. (2016). On the risk of studying practices in isolation: Linking what, who and how in strategy research. Strategic Organization, 14(3), pp. 248-259. doi: 10.1177/1476127015604125


This paper challenges the recent focus on practices as stand-alone phenomena, as exemplified by the so-called “Practice-Based View of Strategy (PBV)” by Bromiley and Rau (2014). While the goal of “PBV” points to the potential of standard practices to generate performance differentials (in contrast to the Resource Based View), it marginalizes wellknown insights from practice theory more widely. In particular, by limiting its focus to practices, i.e. “what” practices are used, it underplays the implications of “who” is engaged in the practices and “how” the practices are carried out. In examining practices in isolation, the “PBV” carries the serious risk of misattributing performance differentials. In this paper, we offer an integrative practice perspective on strategy and performance that should aid scholars in generating more precise and contextually-sensitive theories about the enactment and impact of practices as well as about critical factors shaping differences in practice outcomes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2015
Publisher Keywords: practice perspective; strategy as practice; strategy formulation; strategy practitioners
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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