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Strategy research in the german context: the influence of economic, sociological, and philosophical traditions


Ortmann, G; Seidl, D (2010). Strategy research in the german context: the influence of economic, sociological, and philosophical traditions. In: Silverman, B; Baum, J. The globalization of strategy research. U.K: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 353-387.

Abstract

The present paper takes a look at the particularities of German strategy research over the last three decades. In contrast to much of the Anglo-Saxon research, which has focused on competition as a guiding concept in theorizing about strategy, German research has typically been concerned with more fundamental questions about the general relationship between organizations and their environments and, as a result, tended to be more conceptual than empirical. Researchers have been particularly influenced by the German sociological and philosophical traditions, specifically by the critical theory of Jürgen Habermas and by the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann. Also, there are authors who draw on the economic tradition of the Austrian School in order to develop a competence-based theory of the firm. Another branch builds on Anthony Giddens's structuration theory and Jacques Derrida's philosophy of deconstruction. As we will demonstrate, much of the research has been concerned with fundamental theoretical tensions: evolution vs. planning, selection vs. compensation, cognitive–instrumental rationality vs. moral–practical rationality, etc. We note that, as a consequence, much of German strategy research shows a particular interest in paradoxa and oxymora (such as ‘planned evolution’, ‘productive misunderstandings’ or ‘unfocused monitoring’). This paper will identify and explore important strands of German strategy research and discuss its particularities compared to mainstream strategy research in the United States.

Abstract

The present paper takes a look at the particularities of German strategy research over the last three decades. In contrast to much of the Anglo-Saxon research, which has focused on competition as a guiding concept in theorizing about strategy, German research has typically been concerned with more fundamental questions about the general relationship between organizations and their environments and, as a result, tended to be more conceptual than empirical. Researchers have been particularly influenced by the German sociological and philosophical traditions, specifically by the critical theory of Jürgen Habermas and by the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann. Also, there are authors who draw on the economic tradition of the Austrian School in order to develop a competence-based theory of the firm. Another branch builds on Anthony Giddens's structuration theory and Jacques Derrida's philosophy of deconstruction. As we will demonstrate, much of the research has been concerned with fundamental theoretical tensions: evolution vs. planning, selection vs. compensation, cognitive–instrumental rationality vs. moral–practical rationality, etc. We note that, as a consequence, much of German strategy research shows a particular interest in paradoxa and oxymora (such as ‘planned evolution’, ‘productive misunderstandings’ or ‘unfocused monitoring’). This paper will identify and explore important strands of German strategy research and discuss its particularities compared to mainstream strategy research in the United States.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:25 Feb 2011 13:41
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:45
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Series Name:Advances in Strategic Management
ISSN:0742-3322
ISBN:978-1-84950-898-8
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-3322(2010)0000027015
Related URLs:http://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&mode=Advanced&vid=ZAD&vl%28186672378UI0%29=isbn&vl%281UI0%29=contains&vl%28freeText0%29=978-1-84950-898-8 (Organisation)

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