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Presenting as a Chief Strategy Officer: a discourse-analytical study of elite subjectivities and vulnerabilities

Knight, E. & Jarzabkowski, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-8674-6628 (2022). Presenting as a Chief Strategy Officer: a discourse-analytical study of elite subjectivities and vulnerabilities. Human Relations, doi: 10.1177/00187267221099773

Abstract

Do elite strategists always project powerfulness in how they talk about their strategy work? Whilst the strategy discourse literature has often assumed that those occupying senior strategy positions project strength in how they negotiate power through discourse, our findings challenge and elaborate this assumption by revealing aspects of vulnerability and powerlessness in how they talk about themselves as elite strategists. Based on the strategy discourse of 48 elite strategists around the world, our findings extend the literature at the intersection of power and subjectivity, strategy discourse, and strategy work in three ways. First, we illuminate surprising vulnerability and powerlessness in some elite strategists’ discourses about themselves, an element that goes beyond the assumption of exclusivity and influence embedded in current studies. Second, we contribute to the discursive opening up of the strategist role itself, showing how elite strategists position themselves in contrast to a variety of ‘others’ in strategy work beyond traditional hierarchies. Finally, we advance understandings on discursive competence in the strategy professional field, illuminating new ways in which its discursive competitiveness and continuity is manifest.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Human Relations, SAGE
Publisher Keywords: chief strategy officers; discourse-analytic approach; subjectivities; tensions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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