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The problematic of strategy: a way of seeing is also a way of not seeing

Kazem Chaharbaghi (University of East London, London, UK)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 10 April 2007




The paper aims to question the post‐rational observations and traditional constructions of strategy in terms of what they achieve and what they fail to achieve, and seeks to reconstruct strategy as a multi‐dimensional, dynamic concept.


For this purpose, the study uses and interrelates the dualities between continuity principle and discontinuity principle, knowledge and imagination, opportunity exploitation and opportunity exploration, and conformist innovation and deviant innovation. The paper makes explicit, through the notion of performance paradox, the context for the framework that results from the mutual relation of these four dualities.


The paper finds that failure to understand these dualities and their interrelatedness will ensure that strategy will remain largely an illusive, unexplained and rhetorical concept. It demonstrates that the greatest benefit of understanding these dualities and their interrelatedness is that it can show how organisations should be by illuminating who they might be.

Research limitations/implications

The paper identifies opportunities for innovation, research and reflection by establishing the need for balancing the seemingly conflicting opposites of these interrelated dualities and ways in which they can be located on their strengths.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that the understanding that emerges from the treatment of strategy as a multi‐dimensional, dynamic construct, allows organisations to align the corporate, business and functional dimensions more effectively in making progress and receiving more in terms of the results they want to achieve.


The paper introduces a radical shift in thinking, arguing for a move away from simplified, unbalanced, static constructions of strategy that focus on one‐dimensionality, asymmetry and post‐rationalisation.



Chaharbaghi, K. (2007), "The problematic of strategy: a way of seeing is also a way of not seeing", Management Decision, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 327-339.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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