Sustaining Strategic Issues: Practices and Skills

Yakis-Douglas, Basak and Whittington, Richard (2007) Sustaining Strategic Issues: Practices and Skills. In: Beyond Waltz – Dances of Individuals and Organizations: 23rd European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium, 7-9 July, Vienna, Austria. (Unpublished)

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Our aim is to establish the importance, and explore the nature of, Strategic Issue Sustaining: the process of ensuring that strategic issues are adequately addressed and sustained on the boardroom agenda over significant periods of time. At the same time, we seek to outline the senior management activities/practices required for successful Strategic Issue Sustaining. Taking a practice perspective, we have conducted longitudinal, comparative-case studies in five high-tech companies. We are tracking 24 Human Resource strategic issues over 18 months to identify the activities and practices of organizational actors that are involved in issue sustaining. So far we have carried out 65 interviews; observed 140 meetings and 74 activities (such as lunches and presentations); and collected 359 documents. As a close approximation of successful issue sustaining, we measure attention allocation, resource allocation, and symbolic support. We propose three categories of activity important to successful issue sustaining: cognitive/symbolic; structural/bureaucratic; and political. For example, cognitive activities included creating and using hard metrics; structural/bureaucratic activities included fixing regular meetings, ensuring appropriate communications, and gathering relevant data; and political activities included various influencing and negotiating activities, and a range of activities designed to keep particular issues closely connected with strategic objectives. We conclude by discussing the implications of these kinds of activities for the development of Human Resource managers' skills, arguing for a broader conception of the appropriate skill-set than in specialised understandings of the function.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Strategy; Skills; Management; Human Resources
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2012 20:33
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:07

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