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Strategy workshops facilitating and constraining strategy making

Mirela Schwarz (School of Management, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 7 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is to propose a new framework for exploring the key elements of strategy workshops and provide empirical evidence on how these can influence strategy making within a firm.


The research is based on structuration theory and the “practice” view of strategy. The empirical data are based on a longitudinal case study, including ethnographic data, extensive observations and interviews.


The findings show that strategy workshops are institutionalized as part of a firm's strategy‐making process, and provide a forum for strategic discourse facilitated through knowledge‐sharing and/or promotion of strategic consensus. Strategy workshops may, however, also constrain strategy making through opposition and rejection of participation which may lead to strategic paralysis.

Practical implications

This research propose guidelines for managers on the effective preparation and management of strategy workshops.


The paper provides a new framework to explore key elements of strategy workshops and evidence of how these influence strategy making. The research highlights the dualistic nature of strategy workshops in strategy making.



Schwarz, M. (2009), "Strategy workshops facilitating and constraining strategy making", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 277-287.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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