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Re-framing strategic thinking: the research ‐ aims and outcomes

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of the paper is to justify the research programme and describe the conclusions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper is a summary of the aims and results of the research published in two special issues of Journal of Management Development. It argues that there are three fundamental issues that must be examined in order to resolve the conundrums of business strategy: the semantics; the structures; and the epistemology and ontology of the subject. To achieve this aim, four papers (Part 1) cover the literature that allows for a research aim to be developed. In the subsequent papers (Part 2), strategic thinking is reframed. An inductive frame is created to develop a model to help small business principals understand the need to think strategically about their business. The proposition that better strategy can be generated if answers are found to quality questions, rather than quality solutions found for poorly posed questions, is examined. A deductive frame of fundamental questions is created based on this concept and finally a reflective frame, which is "critically anti-management", provides the mechanism for the inductive and deductive frames to be applied to small business. The methodology is presented by French in "Action research for practising managers" in this issue and this paper is the summary of the research. Findings ‐ A research aim is developed: to examine critically the theory of business strategy and reframe strategic thinking in order to develop and test a viable small business strategic process. Thus, strategic thinking is (critically) reframed and emergence explored beyond the (modernist and postmodernist) "box" of traditional strategic management. Practical implications ‐ Small business principals have access to an integrated system of strategic frames that have been developed and tested using action research. Consequently the small business principal can be confident that the strategic process has both academic and practitioner credibility. Originality/value ‐ Parker suggests that little work has been done in the field of strategy in any non-modernist paradigm. The author believes that this may be one of the early comprehensive studies in this field to utilise both critical theory, in the form of critical management studies, and to apply this epistemology to firms that are considered to be complex self-adapting systems. The consequence is that there is now a theoretical answer to the problems of both Mintzberg, because there is now a mechanism for emergence, and of Hamel, because there is no longer a gap in the strategy discipline, we have a mechanism for strategy creation.
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Keywords: Action research; Semantics; Strategic management; Strategic planning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-20

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