In the loop: a realist approach to structure and agency in the practice of strategy

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This paper introduces and illustrates a critical realist approach to the practice of strategy, combining Archer’s stratified ontology for structure, culture and agency with her work on reflexivity, to provide strategy-as-practice with an innovative theoretical lens. By maintaining the ontic differentiation between structure and agency this approach renders the conditions of action analytically separable from the action itself, thereby facilitating the examination of their interplay, one upon the other, at variance through time, in strategy formation and strategizing. It therefore offers the field a fruitful methodological means of exploring the increasingly complex empirical implications of some practice theoretical claims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-879
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number6
Early online date28 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • agency
  • critical realism
  • morphogenetic-morphostatic cycle
  • strategy-as-practice
  • structure

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