Constructing Innovation through Strategy Practice: Reconciling Inertia and Change

By Lez Rayman-Bacchus and Lez Rayman-Bacchus.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The notion of culture is commonly agreed to describe shared meaning and understanding and shared practices among a community, such as an organisation. These beliefs and practices are ‘taken-for-granted’. When we talk about culture we are really talking about the construction of social reality. Paradoxically, the inertia provided by established and shared practices is permeated with the ambiguity inherent in a social reality. This ambiguity drives innovation so that practitioners both reinforce and elaborate their social reality. In interpreting and expressing their shared reality through everyday practice, practitioners are necessarily creative, interpreting and expressing their social reality through the application of knowledge. There are a limited number of social realities that practitioners unwittingly create. Social reality is a product of how practitioners work together and the degree of social control they experience. Each reality prescribes what counts as ethical practice and useful knowledge.

These observations are based on a phenomenological study of strategy and innovation in three unrelated organisations all of whom regard innovation as essential for their survival: a bank, a telecommunications service provider, and a business school. These findings suggest that attempts to manipulate culture (social reality) fail because organisational designers do not appreciate the processes through which practice unfolds or is constructed.

Keywords: Organisation Culture, Social Reality, Everyday Practice, Strategy as Everyday Practice, Knowledge, Ethics

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 6, Issue 11, pp.119-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.963MB).

Dr. Lez Rayman-Bacchus

Senior Lecturer, Strategy, Business School, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

Lez's professional experience can be characterized as a gradual transformation over more than twenty years, from being a practitioner with academic interests, to being an academic with practitioner experience and interests. As management practitioner he been working in ICT (information and communication technology) related competitive environments since the 1980s. His roles held in common developing and implementing new product-market strategies, working within multinational corporations with European, North American and Asian operations. His teaching and research interests and experience have grown out of, and overlapped with, his practitioner experiences. Since the late 1980s he has worked across the academic/practitioner divide, coaching peers in strategy development, and tutoring mature students on the Open University Business School MBA programme. This intermingling of practice and academic reflection has helped sharpen his contribution both to business success and academic development.

Dr. Lez Rayman-Bacchus

Senior Lecturer, Strategy, Business School, London Metropolitan University, London, UK

Lez's professional experience can be characterized as a gradual transformation over more than twenty years, from being a practitioner with academic interests, to being an academic with practitioner experience and interests. As management practitioner he been working in ICT (information and communication technology) related competitive environments since the 1980s. His roles held in common developing and implementing new product-market strategies, working within multinational corporations with European, North American and Asian operations. His teaching and research interests and experience have grown out of, and overlapped with, his practitioner experiences. Since the late 1980s he has worked across the academic/practitioner divide, coaching peers in strategy development, and tutoring mature students on the Open University Business School MBA programme. This intermingling of practice and academic reflection has helped sharpen his contribution both to business success and academic development.

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