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Critiquing the language of strategic management

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review the semantics of the language of management in order to seek clarification of the terminology and how it is used and misused in the strategy literature. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An extensive review of the literature was undertaken. Findings ‐ Managerial language has been used to obfuscate and politicise the managerial process, especially the strategic process. In order to develop the ideas of the strategy specialty the use and misuse of the words in the strategy lexicon must be understood. The problem that the lack of consistency creates is, that in trying to assess the strategic process in the literature and in practice, it is often impossible to know exactly what strategic methodology is being expressed. Practical implications ‐ Rather than concentrate on definitions of strategy it is necessary to seek to understand how the terminology is applied and then allocate the meaning of the terms to the school of strategic ideas that the writer/scholar espouses in each relevant paper that is published. Originality/value ‐ It is necessary to recognise how the words in the strategy literature have subtle, different meanings and the way to understand the usage is to apply the terminology to a school of thought.
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Keywords: Critical management; Semantics; Strategic management; Strategic planning; Thinking

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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