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Strategising and the routines of governance: An empirical analysis of practices in an international engineering consultancy firm

Peter Smith (The University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand)
Yvon Dufour (Faculte d'administration, Universite de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada)
Ljiljana Erakovic (The University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand)

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration

ISSN: 1757-4323

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




This paper uses the strategy‐as‐practice perspective to explore the relationship between practices and organisational routines of governance in pluralistic contexts. The purpose of this paper is to explore empirically how strategising activities and organisational actions interact. It discusses and illustrates the relationship between strategising and organising through routines of governance, and in particular the use of board papers.


This research is based on a single longitudinal “soft” case study. The researchers collected both primary and secondary data. Primary data collection took place from the end of 2004 until early in 2008. Primary data collection occurred through three main methods: interviews, meeting observations, and “shadowing” of participants; six participants were each shadowed for a working week (five days), and another participant was shadowed for three days. Interviews were held with 20 participants and typically lasted for between one and two hours. The interviews and meetings resulted in over 150 hours of audio recordings. In addition, notes of shadowing covered 420 hours.


The first section of this paper presents the theoretical foundation before describing the research method. A discussion then explores the relationships between one of the specific strategising practices – the creation of board papers – and formal organisational routines of governance. The conclusion suggests that in professional service firms, informal practices that provide feedback are important in ensuring the stability and continuity of formal organisational routines.


The links between micro, meso, and macro levels – that is to say, between actors, organisational actions, and institutional field practices – have already been broadly investigated. However, much of the research remains theoretical rather than empirical in nature. Furthermore, although researchers have been increasingly interested in strategising within organisations featuring multiple goals, diffuse networks of power, and knowledge‐based work processes, a deep understanding of practices in these organisations is still underdeveloped.



Smith, P., Dufour, Y. and Erakovic, L. (2011), "Strategising and the routines of governance: An empirical analysis of practices in an international engineering consultancy firm", Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 149-164.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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