Firms increasingly rely on keynote speeches to communicate their strategies. As a result, managers invest more and more time and effort into preparing and rehearsing their keynote speeches. But how do managers communicate strategy in these staged performances? Based on an analysis of Apple Inc.'s keynote speeches, we explore the discursive and bodily patterns that characterize this genre. In doing so, we demonstrate that the coordinated use of bodily movements in keynote speeches is consequential for highlighting different aspects of the communicated strategy. This shows that keynote speeches and other types of public speeches cannot simply be scripted, but require managers to engage in bodily rehearsal and training in order to communicate strategies effectively.
How do innovators from lower levels of an organization gain approval for their innovations especially when their ideas do not readily fit their organization's strategy? To explore this question, we conducted 138 interviews with innovators and their decision makers in 14 firms based in Silicon Valley. We find that successful innovators shape a story supporting their innovation by rethinking their firm's current and potential resources. They then use this story to convince decision makers that their innovation creates unique competitive advantage. Contrary to conventional wisdom, decision makers approved such innovations even without external validation, solely based on the innovators' success in depicting their reorganization of the firm's resources.
Firms facing technological uncertainty may need to recover from unlucky bets. But responding to failure is politically and organizationally difficult. This study explores how IBM recovered from its failed bet on plasma displays to lead the LCD display market. This study identifies six key factors, highlighting two. First, IBM 's researchers received centralized funding, but could also receive funding directly from division managers. This structure helped preserve options and variety. Second, internal LCD champions focused on the business case for displays and not technology. This fostered technology agnosticism and helped avoid managerial biases from failure. For managers looking to use real options to maintain flexibility in an uncertain environment, this study offers clear suggestions related to design and decision making that can foster flexibility .
Our analysis helps to understand the role of strategic concepts, that is, specific words or phrases with established and at least partly shared meanings, in an organization's strategy process. We show how adopting the concept “self‐responsibility” helped managers in a city organization to make sense of environmental challenges and to promote change. Our analysis highlights how such concepts involve ambiguity that can help managers to establish common ground, but can also hinder implementation of specific decisions and actions if it grows over time. We suggest that under environmental changes, development of new strategic concepts may be crucial in helping managers to collectively deal with environmental changes and to articulate a new strategic direction for the organization.
The purpose of this study is to understand how strategists use visual information (specifically in PowerPoint slides), and its effects on the strategy process. We find that strategy conversations are influenced by the techniques strategists use to create slides, which in turn shape the kinds of follow‐up actions taken. The implications are that: (a) PowerPoint slides can be designed to help tackle complex issues, for instance, when participants have divergent opinions or in politically sensitive situations, and (b) those who craft and edit PowerPoint slides strongly influence the direction of the strategy. The skillful use of PowerPoint is therefore crucial in allowing managers to shape the nature and speed of strategy engagements.