Suspension practices: how change occurs in strategy workshops

This paper belongs to Thematic Session 3 of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

David Seidl, University of Zurich (Department of Business Administration)

Existing research suggests that established structures and routines are suspended during strategy workshops, enabling critical reflection and facilitating the emergence of new ideas. This paper extends this line of research by examining the specific mechanisms through which suspension in strategy workshop is achieved. Drawing on an in-depth, longitudinal case study of a series of strategy workshops within a firm, we show that suspension is actively created through distinctive practices. These suspension practices operate in two ways. First, they inhibit established practices and secondly they act to disrupt secondary practices that reinforce or defend the established practices. The paper integrates these insights to develop comprehensive model of how the suspension practices and defensive practices interact as suspension is accomplished in the context of strategy workshops.

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