A Very Elite Practice: Corporate CEOs and the Politics of Strategy

27 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2012

See all articles by John Hendry

John Hendry

University of Reading - Henley Business School

Date Written: March 15, 2012


This paper draws on 59 depth interviews with FTSE100 CEOs and chairmen to extend the literature on strategy-as-practice to the practice of strategy as perceived by large company CEOs. We find that strategy for this group is effectively synonymous with vision and direction and that its practice is discursive and elite, confined to the board and top management team and dominated and very largely possessed by the CEOs themselves, who have a strong personal identification with their strategies. This framing of strategy can be seen both as maintaining the CEO’s power over the organization and as imposed by demands of external and internal communication and accountability and expectations of leadership. Its practical consequence is that CEO and strategy become closely identified and the established difficulties of changing strategy without changing CEO are significantly exacerbated.

Keywords: CEOs, strategy as practice, strategic change

Suggested Citation

Hendry, John, A Very Elite Practice: Corporate CEOs and the Politics of Strategy (March 15, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2029287

John Hendry (Contact Author)

University of Reading - Henley Business School ( email )

Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

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