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Professor Julia Balogun

Formerly at Lancaster University

Julia Balogun

PhD supervision

I am currently only taking on new PhD students if they are co-supervised with another member of the Centre. The members of the Centre have a wide range of supervisory interests including competitive strategy and processes of strategy development and straetgic change. We are particularly interseted in PhD students who wish to pursue research within the field of Strategy-as-Practice, with a concern for strategy as something organisations do, as opposed to something ortganisaitons have, and an interst in the proceses, practices and activities by which straetegizing is accomplished in organisations.

My Role

The Professor Sir Roland Smith Chair in Strategic Management. Associate Dean for Postgraduate Study. Director of the Lancaster Centre for Strategic Management and Director of the Graduate Management School

My Role

The Professor Sir Roland Smith Chair in Strategic Management. Associate Dean for Postgraduate Study. Director of the Lancaster Centre for Strategic Management and Director of the Graduate Management School

Research Interests

My early work explored how strategic activity is initiated and championed at multiple levels within organizations through a focus on middle managers and strategic change. This work adopts a sensemaking perspective and has won international recognition through acceptance in top ranked international journals.

In 2000 I helped to establish the Change Management Consortium, a collaborative research partnership between academics and practitioners, originally based at Cranfield School of Management with founder members including GSK, GKN, Ernst & Young, Cable & Wireless and HP labs. This consortium has undertaken a range of research, exploring issues, such as, managing change across boundaries and individuals and continuous change, and has more recently undertaken research into merger processes, such as at HMRC.

My current research is more concerned with investigating strategizing as a distributed organisational activity, through a focus on activities such as strategic planning, strategic change and radical organisational restructuring. I have acquired a particular interest in how large corporations transform themselves to both retain and regain competitive advantage in the face of declining performance.  

My research in this area is connected to a field of research which has become known as “Strategy as Practice” (SAP).  Research in strategy is largely dominated by a view of strategy as something organisations have, neglecting strategy as something organisations do. The strategy as practice field attempts to redress this balance through the adoption of sociological approaches to strategizing and strategic change. I am working collaboratively with other academics internationally to promote this field through the Strategy as Practice International Network of which the Centre for Strategic Management at Lancaster is a founding member. (See http://www.sap-in.org/.) I collaborate on SAP international research projects, special issues, and conference events.  I also facilitate development of the field through my personal interntational publications in the area.

In January 2006 I became a Ghoshal Fellow of the Advanced Institute for Management. As part of the fellowship I have undertaken a major empirical investigation of how multinational enterprises are developing integrated European operations from previously multi-domestic modes of operation in response to performance challenges, and how they deliver the associated local transformation this requires. Consistent with the strategy as practice perspective this research follows what executives at the European and National levels are doing to deliver this shift.  This work is currently being developed into different research streasm, including breaking out of strategy vectors, narrative approaches to strategic renewal and subsidairy evolution.

Additional projects underway include collaborative work exploring strategising from a discourse perspective, middle manager strategic sensemaking and the impact of strategists’ identity on their strategic activity.

I typically utilise my previous consultancy experience to work collaboratively with organisations and managers in a way that enables the co-production and advancement of practitioner and theoretical knowledge about strategy and strategic change. My work is, therefore, also used to inform practice through practitioner books and journals. I remain committed to research that is both rigorous and practically relevant.

In addition to publishing widely in the area of strategy and strategic change, I sit on the editorial boards of leading international journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, Organization Studies and Long Range Planning.

Professional Role

The Professor Sir Roland Smith Chair in Strategic Management. Associate Dean for Postgraduate Study. Director of the Lancaster Centre for Strategic Management and Director of the Graduate Management School

Current Teaching

Strategic Management on the Full-time MBA.

Research overview

My research interests centre on strategy development and strategic change, renewal and transformation, predominantly within large, mature corporations. I adopt a sociological perspective, focussing on how strategists accomplish their work through discrusive, political, cultural and cognitive processes.


My early research on strategic change and middle managers and the international publications I achieved through this research established my reputation as a qualitative researcher in strategy and strategic change. I sit on a number of international journal editorial boards and I am regularly asked to contribute to workshops and conference events on writing and publishing qualitative research.  Through my early interest in adopting sociological approahes to strategy development and strategic change I became a founder and leading member of the now internationally established and rapidly growing Strategy as Practice (SAP) field.  I was a founding member of the SAP special interest groups at EGOS and BAM, and I am still a member of the leadership team of the SAP standing working group at EGOS. More recently I led a bid to establish a SAP Interest Group at the Academy of Management.  We are the first new interest group in several years. I remain on the Academy Interest Group Advisory Committee.

Career Details

I started my academic career with an appointment to an ESRC Teaching Fellowship at Cranfield School of Management. I moved to Cass in 2003 to take up a senior lectureship.  I was promoted to Professor at Cass through a Personal Chair in 2005. I moved to Lancaster to take up the Professor Sir Roland Smith Chair in Strategic Management in Autumn 2008.

Research Grants

August 1992 – 1994.        ESRC Teaching Fellow

2006. Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Ghoshal Research Fellowship, ‘Promising Practices for Strategizing’, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


MBA Cranfield School of Management 1990-1991

PhD Cranfield School of Management 1999

Current Teaching

Strategic Management on the Full-Time MBA

PhDs Examined

2006    Doctoral thesis, ‘Organizations and Routines’ Alba Graduate Business School, Athens and
Graduate School of Business, Strathclyde University.  Supervisor Professor Hari Tsoukas.

2007    Doctoral thesis, ‘Meta-strategising: the making of formalised strategy-making’. Said Business School.  Supervisor Professor Richard Whittington.

2010    Doctoral thesis, ‘Strategic Change in Professional Service Firms’.  Alberta, Canada.  Supervisors Professors Royston Greenwood & David Cooper

2010    Doctoral thesis, ‘Cross-Institutional Partnerships: The Role of Organizational Identities’. Supervisor Professor Sam Aryee, Aston Business School.

2010    Doctoral thesis, “Subsidiary Middle Managers’ Search for Knowledge and Strategic Renewal”, Supervisors Dr Pamela Scott & Professor Vincent Mangematin (Grenoble), Dublin Institute for Technology

2011    Doctoral thesis, “Strategising through Organising: The significance of everyday relational sensemaking”, Supervisor Professor Jorgen Rasmussen, Aalborg University

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