Research Output

Towards a body aware strategic organisation.

  This essay attempts to give a voice to the non-verbal in strategic organization
through an enhanced conceptualization of the body, a discussion of which has
too long been overlooked within the field. As a result, management in general,
and strategic management in particular, have been theorized as disembodied
(Swan, 2005). In part, this is likely the outcome of a focus on strategy rather
than the practice of strategy, which characterized the field until the late 1990s,
and the ready availability of written and verbal aspects of strategy for study.
Nevertheless, even the currently active practice agenda in strategy has thus far
focused largely on talk and given little attention to the body (Whittington,
1996, 2001, 2002, 2003).
In our view, a conceptualization of strategizing that fails to consider strategists’
physicality and embodiment is incomplete. Stated more strongly, divorcing
the body from our praxis is inhibiting the growth of practice itself. The body
may act positively, negatively or neutrally in the strategic processes, impacting the
effectiveness of processes themselves as well as the strategies chosen and their outcomes.
Borrowing ideas and approaches from the broader organization studies
field and beyond, and building on research questions posed by Whittington
(2003) for a practice perspective, we make a case for ‘body-aware’ research on the
practice of strategy.
In calling for acknowledgement of the body we urge the study of non-verbal
gestures, sounds, silences, gestures, voices and the overall physicality of strategizing
processes. However, study is not limited to the physical body but also its
embodiment – the meaning-made body (Bourdieu, 1977: 75), the lived body
(Grosz, 1994, 1995), the becoming body (Styhre, 2004: 104).

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  • Date:

    13 November 2007

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Minocha, S. & Stonehouse, G. (2007). Towards a body aware strategic organisation. Strategic Organization. 5, 439-448. doi:10.1177/1476127007083351. ISSN 1476-1270



strategic organization; strategic management; body; physicality; embodiment;

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