My research deals with strategic management processes and practices appropriate to “pluralistic” settings, i.e., organizational contexts where objectives and values are multiple and ambiguous, where power and influence are shared among a variety of stakeholders, and where the knowledge required to make decisions is distributed among people at many levels and in different positions. Most traditional models and techniques of strategic management were developed for organizations with hierarchical structures, clear economic purposes and a concentration of power and expertise at the top. So what are the appropriate methods in organizations where these assumptions are questionable? What types of tools are likely to be useful in such settings? These are some of the questions that interest me.
In order to understand these complex processes, I believe that it is important to learn from the experience of those who are most deeply involved in these issues. That is why my research program has often emphasized longitudinal in-depth case studies in health care, cultural organizations, cooperatives and the community sector amongst others. Here are some more specific areas of interest.
1. Strategic change in pluralistic settings
One major area of interest is related to the conditions and processes associated with successful change in health care and other complex organizational settings, including the arts and public administration.
2. The role of management tools in strategic practice in pluralistic settings
How can traditional strategic management tools such as strategic planning contribute to strategic management in pluralistic settings? Another area of study involves examining the nature of these practices, and their consequences fpr the appropriation and implementation of strategy.
3. Strategic leadership and top management team dynamics in pluralistic settings
Strategic leadership practices are another area of interest. Strategic leadership in pluralistic settings is most often collective in nature, demanding the collaboration of several people playing differentiated and complementary roles. My research has examined the dynamics of collective leadership in several types of settings.
4. Identity work in pluralistic settings
Identity issues are inherent to pluralistic settings. I am particularly interested in the issues raised when different perspectives on organizational identity co-exist in the same setting. With colleagues, we are studying the phenomenon in financial cooperatives, technology startups, and artistic organizations, amongst others.
5. Methodological resources for the study of strategy in pluralistic settings
Qualitative process research methods are particularly relevant to the four research areas indicated above. The development of these methods is and always has been a particular interest.
6. Conceptual resources for the study of strategy in pluralistic settings
A variety of conceptual resources can be mobilized for the study of strategy in pluralistic settings. I have been particularly interested in developments in institutional theory, orders of worth, practice theories and processual and narrative perspectives on organizational phenomena.