Best Practices in Data Collection and Preparation

Very, very helpful article on best practices of handling research data and writing transparent and well documented research.

The authors focus on
(a) type of research design
(b) control variables
(c) sampling procedures, and
(d) missing data management
(e) outlier management
(f) use of corrections for statistical and methodological artifacts
(g) data transformations

Instead of classical textbook approach, this article gives you a very clear hands-on perspective, with a good portion of examples and references.

Definitely worth a read if you do either quantitative or qualitative empirical research!

Opening Strategy

If you ever want an overview of the development of strategy as a professional field, this book is a good place to start.

Whittington, R. (2019) ‘Opening Strategy: Practices and Professionals’, in Opening Strategy. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198738893.003.0001.

The book takes you on a journey through the development of the academic and professional field of strategy, how practices, praxis, practitioners and the profession has developed since the 60’s until today.

After a very interesting theoretical chapter (focus: ‘strategy as practice’), much emphasis is put on how how the practitioners of strategy – both in companies, but also consultancies have developed and shaped the use of strategy. An interesting reccuring theme is how development of new technology also contributed to development of approaches to use of strategy. In recent times, the whole dimension social network mentality, has both shaped expectations and the tech employed to involve wide groups of an organisation – and beyond – in the strategy process. Thus, from the idea of closed, top-management only thinking about strategy, we are barreling towards much more openness in the whole strategic process.

Very interesting and gives food for thought on where are we heading.

More on “strategy as practice”:

  • Johnson, 2016. Strategy as Practice: Research Directions and Resources
  • Golsorkhi, 2007, Cambridge Handbook of Strategy as Practice
  • Jarzabkowski, 2005 Strategy as Practice: An Activity Based Approach (SAGE Strategy series)

Fundamentals of strategy

I’m reading up on strategy literature these days, and I found this gem: “Fundamentals of strategy” and I’m very happy that I ordered and read it.

Johnson, Gerry et al. (2018) Fundamentals of Strategy (4th ed). Pearson Education M.U.A.

It’s written with clarity and has interesting examples. It uses a framwork from the preveously published “Exploring strategy” (2017).
The framework separates analysis of “strategic position”, “strategic choices” and “strategy in action” – and therefore separates between various analytical approaches to strategy: environment-analysis, capability, stakeholder-analysis, competitive, diversifying, structure, systems and change.
I find the book to be a clear and vivid introduction to the field of strategy including a showcase of classical and more recent strategic tools.


Organizational learning

Crossan, M., Lane, H., & White, R. (1999). An Organizational Learning Framework: From Intuition to Institution. The Academy of Management Review,24(3), 522-537.

I’ve read it before, but enjoyed reading it again. The classic paper of Crossan, Lane and White on Organizational Learning is food for thought both for academia and practice-oriented organisations.

I enjoy the frameworks given in this paper: the four processes of learning which includes personal, group and organizational level : Intuiting (personal), Intepreting (personal), Integrating (group) and institutionalizing (organization). The paper effectively shown how these processes can interact to generate organizational learning. They maintain the importance of the individual being a cornerstone in the organizational learningprocess. However: routines, diagnostic systems and rules and procedures must develop as a result of the individual and group-level processes. This is where many organizations probably struggle. Thus institutionalization can lead to barriers for organizational learning.

For strategic management, this implies that all levels must be taken into account when developing and deploying strategy. As strategic management (SM) is more involved in the organization than classic strategic planning (Whittington, 2019), SM needs to link into learningprocesses on all levels.

The article has been cited 1650 times in academic texts. Which is quite a lot. And the popularity has been growing (Web of Science). Definitely one to read! Do you agree?

That’s interesting!

Davis, M. (1971). That’s Interesting: Towards a Phenomenology of Sociology and a Sociology of Phenomenology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 1(4), 309.

Today I read the essay by Murray Davies “That’s interesting!”. Which was – really interesting!  The central tenant of the essay is to answer the question of  “How do theories which are generally considered interesting differ from theories which are generally considered non-interesting?” The answer is given promptly in the opening summary: “Interesting theories are those which deny certain assumptions of their audience, while non-interesting theories are those which affirm certain assumptions of their audience”. Davis then walks through a number of various examples this can be done and gives historical examples, including among others Marx, Freud, Kant, and Durkheim. This is a really nice read – written in a clear and interesting fashion by someone who is able to reference a large variety of examples, especially from within social sciences.

Usefulness: clarifies thoughts on how to position a paper or hypothesis which has the remote possibility to actually generate some interest – not just fill up some more storage space in an eternal it-cloud.

Best quote: “A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting. Those who carefully and exhaustively verify trivial theories are soon forgotten; whereas those who cursorily and expediently verify interesting theories are long remembered.”

CPA and CSR: non-market strategies

Mellahi, K., Frynas, J., Sun, P., & Siegel, D. (2016). A Review of the Nonmarket Strategy Literature: Toward a Multi-Theoretical Integration. Journal of Management, 42(1), 143-173.

Reading outside your immediate research-focus can be both bewildering and very rewarding. My focus the past years has been on strategy in regards to public organisations. Certainly there are frequent references to strategy in the private sector – but actually diving into an article like this one, is both bewildering and rewarding.

Superficially, one might think non-market strategy and strategy in public agencies should be quite similar, since public agencies do not interact with markeds the same way as businesses. The illusion of similarity soon dissipates as you read about what non-market strategy is all about. I’ll return to that. Burrowing deeper, however, there are some possible bridges between the literature on non-market strategy in market-place organisations and public agencies. I’ll return to that as well.

First things first. The article delves into research on non-market strategy: especially CSR and CPA (corporate social responsibility and corporate political activity). It details how a selection of 214 articles was chosen and how they were analyzed. 163 of the papers were empirical and 51 were conceptual. Of the empirical papers, 153 were focused on the performance outcomes of CSR and 51 on CPA. There was, in other words, a large amount of research which the authors used as data for this article. The result is a plethora of details which at times is quite a challenge to follow. However: the authors supply an integrative framework which comes to assistance in ordering the huge amount of perspectives.

The article details which theoretical frameworks the underlying articles have used. The most common are Agency Theory, Institutional Theory, Resource-based view (RBV), Resource-dependence theory (RDT), Stakeholder Theory and a group of “Others”. The overview of the use of these theoretical perspectives alone is very helpful in gaining oversight over the academic field of non-market strategy. Then the authors also present an “integrative model of the nonmarket strategy-performance relationship”.  Such models clarify and give the readers a mental image of how elements fit together – at least in this paper’s discussion.

A very interesting chapter was Insights From Related Non-Business Disciplines – where there are also possible links to social contract and Habermasian theories as possible avenues forward.

Leaving the directly market-place related content aside, there is still a lot to gain in this article on strategy for public sector. I will certainly look closer into how theoretical perspectives are applied in some of the references papers. Another perspective is the focus  on how CPA and CSR may be complementary, the discussion on mediating factors between CPA, CSR and performance and not least the effect of contextual factors (legal, political, and social).  All these dimensions are in differing ways applicable also to public agencies

Therefore, for me this article was very helpful – and it gives me a ton of new articles to look further into.