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Edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermanns
Chapter 4: The Strategic Arena Approach to Strategy Process Research
4 The strategic arena approach to strategy process research* Anders Melander, Leif Melin and Mattias Nordqvist INTRODUCTION Strategy process research has made significant contributions to the field of strategy since the mid 1970s. It opened up the black box of the organization and showed that strategy is a multi-level phenomenon with social, cultural and political influences at both micro and macro levels (Johnson et al., 2003; Hutzschenreuter and Kleindienst, 2006). Researchers subscribing to a process research view have demonstrated that strategy is made by human beings, where forces and activities driving or counteracting change emerge from human actions. Populating the arena of strategy making with human beings has paved the way for new theoretical contributions (Johnson et al., 2007). Another contribution of strategy process research is to legitimate in-depth case studies (Johnson et al., 2003), from single case studies (e.g. Pettigrew, 1985) to comparative case studies (e.g. Eisenhardt, 1989). In-depth case studies allow researchers to develop holistic and contextual understanding of strategy processes through studying complex forces that may drive both strategic change and stability (Melin, 1986, 1989; Johnson et al., 2003). However, the strategy process tradition has also met some criticism. Johnson et al. (2003), for instance, have identified six limitations and the approach presented in this paper considers directly four of these limitations: ● ● ● Much strategy process research is based on second-hand and retrospective reports. We need more ethnographic and real-time studies to increase our understanding of the micro activities that construct strategy processes. Much strategy process research takes...
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