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Examining Use of Information Power in the Practice of Strategy Making: A Strong Structuration Case Study Open Access

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Given the relevance of strategy making in an unpredictable environment, both practitioners and scholars have embraced the possibilities espoused by strategy-as-practice, a discipline designed around developing a better understanding of what people actually do in relation to strategy and how their actions influence organizational strategy (Jarzabkowski & Seidl, 2007; Jarzabkowski & Spee, 2009). As there is neither empirical nor theoretical research on the micro-level use of information power during the practice of strategy making, this study builds on the reciprocal relationship between information and strategy, as highlighted by Cyert, Kumar, and Williams (1993).To ensure theoretical-methodological alignment, this study utilizes a qualitative exploratory case study design (Yin, 2009). The case focuses on liaisons' use of information during the practice of strategy making, particularly strategy intending to cultivate employee volunteerism in the local Bath and North East Somerset Community (BANES), United Kingdom. Accordingly, this study uses a micro-perspective to explore liaisons' awareness, use and implications of information power during the practice of strategy making, with wide-ranging findings for over twenty local businesses and contributions to the fields of strategy-as-practice and information power.Results indicate that information power plays both an active and passive role within the practice of strategy making. In particular, despite widespread unawareness of information power conceptually, the participant group was found to exchange, shape, and withhold information to both help and hinder strategy making. Participants fell into three categories: `openness' liaisons who denied information power, leaving them vulnerable to the strategies of other participants; `dismissives' who refused to acknowledge that information power was anything other than established structures, yet who used information power to limit discussion around certain topics; and `wanting to knows' who were aware of information power and attempted to use it to promote exchanges for other scarce information as well as bolstered reputation or social standing. Ultimately, the implication of information power as a micro-foundation involved in the practice of making strategy sheds new insight on the nature of this phenomenon and directly contributes to literature on strategy-as-practice, information power, and resource dependence theory of the firm.

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