Professionals as Strategists? Channelling and Organizing Distributed Strategizing

47 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2014

See all articles by Maria Lusiani

Maria Lusiani

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal

Date Written: December 1, 2013


Many contemporary organizations claim to be moving towards forms of increased inclusion and transparency in the strategy formulation and communication processes. This paper explores how organizations can enable wide participation in strategy making while keeping a coherent strategic direction. In particular, it investigates how strategizing takes place in professional, pluralistic contexts, supposedly characterized by open participation in strategymaking. Drawing on a strategy-as-practice perspective and on a case study of an Italian public hospital that introduced a new participatory planning system, it focuses on how professionals participated in strategy work and the tools they drew on to do so. The study shows how professionals’ empowerment is likely to be subject to managerial endorsement and how the simultaneous opening up and holding together of strategy may be accomplished through the boundary spanning activities of planning officers and the channelling and organizing roles of formal planning tools. These findings contribute to an understanding of how distributed strategizing occurs in professional settings and how 'open strategy' may play out in organizations more generally.

Keywords: Strategizing; Professionals; Strategy as practice; Planning; Open strategy; Pluralistic settings

JEL Classification: M10

Suggested Citation

Lusiani, Maria and Langley, Ann, Professionals as Strategists? Channelling and Organizing Distributed Strategizing (December 1, 2013). Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia Working Paper 32/2013. Available at SSRN:

Maria Lusiani (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Capo di Lucca 34
Bologna, 40126

Ann Langley

HEC Montreal ( email )

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