Strategizing in the multi-business firm

  • Sotirios Efstratios Paroutis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This study provides theoretical, methodological and empirical insights to the emerging strategy as practice area of research and the strategy process area by describing and analysing the practices of strategy teams in multibusiness firms. It develops an approach to strategizing which highlights the importance of actions and interactions by strategy teams during the strategy process in complex organizational settings. This approach suggests that acting by these teams is dynamic, collective and distributed within the firm across three interrelated levels: local, global and contextual, involving both recursive and adaptive activities.

The empirical part comprises of fifteen pilot interviews and two in depth studies of FTSE-100 multibusiness firms: BT and Centrica. The analysis draws upon longitudinal data collected in these firms over 1997-2004 by means of sixty seven interviews, two on-line surveys, and archival material. Using a multi-methodological approach, this data is analysed combining coding analysis of the interview transcripts and statistical analysis of the survey responses.

The analysis reveals seven practices employed by strategy teams: initiating, executing, reflecting, collaborating, supporting, coordinating and shaping context; four organizing configurations used by strategy teams: dominant logic, knowledge transfer, homogenous communities and diverse communities; and finally three types of capabilities required by managers during strategizing: technical; interaction; and meta-level capabilities.

This study contributes to strategy as practice research by developing three conceptual and complementary frameworks for the study of strategizing in the multibusiness firm. Drawing on these three related layers of understanding, this study sets the foundation for a more comprehensive theoretical understanding of the strategizing practices of teams. This thesis also contributes to the strategy as practice area by offering extensive empirical insights using qualitative and quantitative data. Finally, this study contributes to management practice primarily by offering these three frameworks as diagnostic tools that could assist managers reflect on their daily practices.

Date of Award11 Oct 2006
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorA M Pettigrew (Supervisor)

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