Strategic planning as communicative process

Andreas P. Spee, Paula A. Jarzabkowski

Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


This paper looks at how a strategic plan is constructed through a communicative process. Drawing on Ricoeur’s concepts of decontextualization and recontextualization, we conceptualize strategic planning activities as being constituted through the iterative and recursive relationship of talk and text. Based on an in-depth case study, our findings show how multiple actors engage in a formal strategic planning process which is manifested in a written strategy document. This document is thus central in the iterative talk to text cycles. As individuals express their interpretations of the current strategic plan in talk, they are able to make amendments to the text that then shape future textual versions of the plan. This iterative cycle is repeated until a final plan is agreed. We develop our findings into a model of the communication process that explains how texts become more authoritative over time and, in doing so, how they inscribe power relationships and social order within organizations. These findings contribute to the literature on the purposes of largely institutionalized processes of strategic planning and to the literature on organization as a communications process.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBirmingham (UK)
PublisherAston University
ISBN (Print)978-1-85449-750-5
Publication statusUnpublished - Mar 2009

Publication series

NameAston Business School research papers
PublisherAston University


  • strategic planning
  • organizational communication
  • recontextualization
  • decontextualization


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