How we do it : strategy-as-practice in Old Mutual Namibia

Geises, Merceline Mercia (2013-03)


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Strategic thinking has evolved and different insights of strategy and the way that strategy works in organisations have developed over time. There is a view that strategy is something organisations posses. The strategy-as-practice approach, however, sees the field of strategy as something people do in organisations. The focus is thus on people, and doers of strategy in organisations, which leads to the question of who strategists are, what their role is in strategy work, and what strategy tools are deployed. The aim of this study was to review the existing body of knowledge in the strategy-as-practice domain and illustrate the findings of previous researchers, by virtue of an empirical study based on a financial services organisation in Namibia. The approach adopted in this research is an activity based view of strategy-as-practice in line with Jarzabkowski (2005) where the main focus is on practitioners, praxis/events and practices/process within the case study organisation. Praxis is defined by Jarzabkowski et al. (2007) with reference to Reckwitz (2002) and Sztompka (1991) as a stream of activity that interconnects the micro actions of individuals or groups with the wider institutions in which those actions are located and to which they contribute. The seven aspects of the biomatrix systems theory by Dostal, Cloete and Jaros (2004) are discussed and strategy-as-practice in the case study organisation is analysed according to the environment, ethos, aims, processes, structure, governance and mei (matter, energy & information). The ten schools of study as defined my Mintzberg, Ahstrand and Lampel (2005) is incorporated in this study in order to assess the presence of these schools of thought in the case study organisation. Evidence of the different forms of strategy as defined by Jarzabkowski (2005), namely procedural, integrative strategy and interactive strategy are also found in the case study organisation. Strategy-as-practice research done in the South African and Namibian context by researchers attached to the University of Stellenbosch is also reviewed in this research paper. SenseMaker™ Explorer software was used where respondents were required to do self-indexing on their narratives about strategy-as-practice in the case study organisation, to further support the findings of the template and thematic analysis. The SenseMaker™ software results gave the researcher more insight into respondents’ views about the implementation of strategy, strategic governance, the ethos of strategy-as-practice in the case study organisation and the strategy goals deployed in Old Mutual Namibia.

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