Researching Strategy Practices - A Genealogical Social Theory Perspective

Organization Studies, Vol. 30, No. 7, pp. 713-734, 2009

38 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2010 Last revised: 16 Dec 2010

See all articles by Andreas Rasche

Andreas Rasche

Copenhagen Business School

Robert Chia

University of Strathclyde

Date Written: August 12, 2010


This paper explores the meaning and significance of the term ‘social practice’ and its relation to strategy-as-practice research from the perspective of social theory. Although our remarks are also applicable to other practice-based discussions in management, we discuss strategy practices as a case in point and thus contribute to the strategy-as-practice literature in three ways. First, instead of simply accepting the existence of a unified ‘practice theory’, we outline a genealogical analysis revealing the historical-contingent conditions of its creation. This analysis shows that social practices in general and strategy practices in particular can be approached from either a neo-structuralist and/or neo-interpretative perspective. Second, based on this theoretical argument, we discuss different characteristics of strategy practices and emphasize those aspects not yet fully considered by strategy-as-practice research (e.g., the physical nature of practices). Third, we show that when studying strategy practices, given an understanding of the alternative theoretical approaches available, the practice of strategy research itself needs to be adjusted so as to accommodate a stronger emphasis on an ethnographic approach that is directed towards uncovering the contextual and hidden characteristics of strategy-making.

Keywords: strategy practices, practice theory, strategy theory, strategists, ethnography

JEL Classification: M10

Suggested Citation

Rasche, Andreas and Chia, Robert, Researching Strategy Practices - A Genealogical Social Theory Perspective (August 12, 2010). Organization Studies, Vol. 30, No. 7, pp. 713-734, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Andreas Rasche (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000

Robert Chia

University of Strathclyde ( email )

16 Richmond Street
Glasgow 1XQ, Scotland G1 1XQ
United Kingdom

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