Rules of suspension: a rules-based explanation of strategy workshops in strategy process

Seidl, D.N., MacLean, D. and MacIntosh, R. (2011) Rules of suspension: a rules-based explanation of strategy workshops in strategy process. In: 71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2011, San Antonio, Texas, USA, August 12-16, 2011,

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This paper develops a rules-based view of the role of strategy workshops in developing and changing firm strategy. It is based on prior studies which elaborated a rules-based perspective on strategy process and on more recent work focused on strategy workshops as an important strategic practice. We use an in-depth study of strategy workshops to develop a typology of three different rule sets: (1) generative rules which bring forth organizational activities, (2) defensive rules which inhibit changes to the generative rules and (3) rules of suspension, i.e. rules for suspending defensive rules. We argue that within strategy workshops it is possible to use rules of suspension as a temporary means of disrupting defensive rules which, in turn, facilitates changes to existing generative rules. The paper makes three contributions to the literature. First, we contribute to the rules-based perspective on strategy process by building a theoretical framework to explain interactions between rule sets during strategy development. Second, we contribute to the literature on strategy-as-practice which is interested in the effects of different strategic practices such as strategy workshops. Third, our micro-level observations add new insight to on-going discussions about the relationship between organizational stability and strategic change.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:Paper was presented on Monday, August 15, 2011 3:00-4:30pm at San Antonio Convention Center in Room 213B. Paper nominated for Dexter Award for International Collaborative Research.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacIntosh, Professor Robert and MacLean, Professor Donald
Authors: Seidl, D.N., MacLean, D., and MacIntosh, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Research Group:Academy of Management
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