Actionable strategy knowledge: a practice perspective

Paula Jarzabkowski*, David C. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly the body of knowledge derived from strategy theory has been criticized because it is not actionable in practice, particularly under the conditions of a knowledge economy. Since strategic management is an applied discipline this is a serious criticism. However, we argue that the theory-practice question is too simple. Accordingly, this paper expands this question by outlining first the theoretical criteria under which strategy theory is not actionable, and then outlines an alternative perspective on strategy knowledge in action, based upon a practice epistemology. The paper is in three sections. The first section explains two contextual conditions which impact upon strategy theory within a knowledge economy, environmental velocity and knowledge intensity. The impact of these contextual conditions upon the application of four different streams of strategy theory is examined. The second section suggests that the theoretical validity of these contextual conditions breaks down when we consider the knowledge artifacts, such as strategy tools and frameworks, which arise from strategy research. The third section proposes a practice epistemology for analyzing strategy knowledge in action that stands in contrast to more traditional arguments about actionable knowledge. From a practice perspective, strategy knowledge is argues to be actionable as part of the everyday activities of strategizing. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-367
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • relevance
  • strategy as practice
  • strategy knowledge
  • strategy theory
  • strategy tools


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