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Strategic Leadership: The accomplishment of strategy as a 'perennially unfinished proejct'

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2010
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)409-424
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Based on an ethnomethodologically informed ethnography of further education college principals, this paper explores the nature and accomplishment of strategic leadership work as an ongoing, processual activity. In particular, the paper focuses on the ‘pre-implementation’ phase of the strategizing process, and suggests how the practices of clarifying, rehearsing, upholding, adapting and elaborating are integral to maintaining the spirit of the strategy in the face of unforeseen events. In so doing, it adopts the notion of strategy as a ‘perennially unfinished project’ (Knights and Mueller, 2004: 55), and explicates the constant need for improvisation and adjustment in order to successfully implement, not the letter of a strategic plan, but its intent. It also echoes Suchman’s seminal thesis on plans as ‘resources for situated action [that] do not in any strong sense determine its course’ (Suchman, 1987: 52).