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The promise of the strategy as practice perspective for family business strategy research


  • Nordqvist, Mattias
  • Melin, Leif


Family firms represent the most common form of business organization in most countries. This is, however, not yet reflected in the amount of strategy research devoted to family firms. In this article we suggest that the strategy as practice perspective - applied by an increasing number of scholars within the strategic management field - can help scholars to achieve rich understandings and develop useful knowledge about strategy making in family businesses. The strategy as practice perspective emphasizes that strategic work is not the same for all organizations. The ways of doing strategy tend to fall into specific routines and work patterns that vary from firm to firm and between different types of firms at the same time as they may be influenced by more institutionalized practices. We focus on the use and meanings of strategic planning as a specific and important strategic practice in the context of family businesses. Our research is based on a literature review that combines recent insights from the strategy as practice perspective and from strategic planning research. Empirically we draw on longitudinal in-depth case research of strategic planning processes in three family firms. Three dimensions of the practice of strategic planning in the family firm context emerge from our study. We label these dimensions planning modes, planning motives, and planning arenas. Based on the dimensions we discuss how the process as well as the roles of strategic planning is linked to local and situational understandings and the rules of the game for strategic work in each family business, and to broader institutional forces regarding the meaning and value of the strategic planning practice. We provide contributions for research and practice in this important context of business organizations. We also offer directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Nordqvist, Mattias & Melin, Leif, 2010. "The promise of the strategy as practice perspective for family business strategy research," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 15-25, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:fambus:v:1:y:2010:i:1:p:15-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xavier, CASTANER & Mikko, KETOKIVI, 2003. "Planning as an integrative device," Les Cahiers de Recherche 775, HEC Paris.
    2. Nordqvist, Mattias & Hall, Annika & Melin, Leif, 2009. "Qualitative research on family businesses: The relevance and usefulness of the interpretive approach," Journal of Management & Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 294-308, July.
    3. Torben Juul Andersen, 2004. "Integrating Decentralized Strategy Making and Strategic Planning Processes in Dynamic Environments," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(8), pages 1271-1299, December.
    4. Harvey James, 1999. "Owner as Manager, Extended Horizons and the Family Firm," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 41-55.
    5. Paula Jarzabkowski & Julia Balogun, 2009. "The Practice and Process of Delivering Integration through Strategic Planning," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(8), pages 1255-1288, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bee, Colleen & Neubaum, Donald O., 2014. "The role of cognitive appraisal and emotions of family members in the family business system," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 323-333.
    2. repec:spr:jmgtco:v:28:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00187-018-0257-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Basco, Rodrigo, 2013. "The family's effect on family firm performance: A model testing the demographic and essence approaches," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 42-66.
    4. Goel, Sanjay & Mazzola, Pietro & Phan, Phillip H. & Pieper, Torsten M. & Zachary, Ramona K., 2012. "Strategy, ownership, governance, and socio-psychological perspectives on family businesses from around the world," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 54-65.
    5. Craig, Justin & Moores, Ken, 2010. "Strategically aligning family and business systems using the Balanced Scorecard," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 78-87, June.
    6. Hamilton, Eleanor & Discua Cruz, Allan & Jack, Sarah, 2017. "Re-framing the status of narrative in family business research: Towards an understanding of families in business," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-12.
    7. Fletcher, Denise & Massis, Alfredo De & Nordqvist, Mattias, 2016. "Qualitative research practices and family business scholarship: A review and future research agenda," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 8-25.
    8. Barros, Ismael & Hernangómez, Juan & Martin-Cruz, Natalia, 2016. "A theoretical model of strategic management of family firms. A dynamic capabilities approach," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 149-159.
    9. De Massis, Alfredo & Kotlar, Josip, 2014. "The case study method in family business research: Guidelines for qualitative scholarship," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29.
    10. Irava, Wayne J. & Moores, Ken, 2010. "Clarifying the strategic advantage of familiness: Unbundling its dimensions and highlighting its paradoxes," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 131-144, September.
    11. Lindow, Corinna M. & Stubner, Stephan & Wulf, Torsten, 2010. "Strategic fit within family firms: The role of family influence and the effect on performance," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 167-178, September.


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