Strategy implementation as performative practice: Reshaping organization into alignment with strategy

Sander Merkus*, Thijs Willems, Marcel Veenswijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Much of the existing scholarly work on strategy implementation focuses on factors that either catalyze or obstruct the infusion of strategy into the organization. While this renders valuable knowledge about factors enabling or frustrating implementation, the actual process of strategy implementation is treated as a black box and as a step in the strategy model which is not further explained. To understand this process, this conceptual paper draws from performativity literature in which a strategy is conceptualized as a performative device. This means that a strategy triggers practices which reshape the organization so that the strategy is actualized in the organization. Specifically, we explain the idea of routinization as an instrument for enacting strategy into the organization by means of organizational routines. An illustrative empirical vignette is used to exemplify our conceptual point. Our study contributes to strategy implementation literature by introducing an alternative though complementary lens for studying strategy implementation and offers inspiration for strategy practitioners who aim to develop new implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-155
Number of pages16
JournalOrganization Management Journal
Issue number3
Early online date22 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • implementation
  • Performativity
  • practice
  • routine
  • strategy


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