The Strategy Group is home to a diverse group of scholars united by a commitment to understanding major strategic and organisational issues, nested within a global context.

Research in Strategy

Professor Kenneth Amaeshi discusses his research into corporate social responsibility and Africapitalism.

The Strategy Group studies contemporary issues of societal and organisational importance at the local, national, and global levels. Members of the group draw on a wide range of social science theories. The group possesses research expertise in the public, private, and third sector organizations. Our knowledge production is organised around four distinct themes:

Group Research

1. Strategic Change and Leadership


  • Processes of strategic change
  • Practice of strategy and change
  • The impact of calculative practices on strategy-making
  • Organisational and institutional change
  • Power, accountability, and strategic change
  • Discursive aspects of strategic change

The twenty-first century has been characterised by turbulence and change. Global economic pressures and societal challenges have thrown up apparently intractable or 'wicked problems'.

These range from issues of identifying and managing new business opportunities in the transnational space, adapting to more complex operating business environments, responding to the demands of climate change and sustainability, inequality, the fall-out from the global financial crisis, through to the apparent failure of many business models and incessant leadership crisis.

The Strategy group seeks to understand the paradoxes, recursiveness, unintended consequences and competing logics associated with organisational change.

Drawing on institutional theory, power and politics, and critical discursive analysis, our group seeks to unmask the complexities of strategic change and to reflect on the practical lessons that can be drawn from major strategic changes.

These have led to publications in top business and management journals including: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies, Public Management Review and Human Relations.

Sample Projects

  • Everyday talk, strategic meetings, and strategic change
  • New product development and the implementation of new ideas
  • Exploring the integral role of humour to sensemaking and change process
  • Strategic Change within the BBC: From Cultural Patricians to Market Savants
  • Path to Partnership in Big Four accounting firms: A Bourdieusian exploration of elites
  • EU FP7 programme 'learning from social innovation in public service environments.' (LIPSE)

2. Global and International Strategies


  • Global and international strategies worldwide, including foreign direct investments, trade, and knowledge / technology management within multinational enterprises
  • Top level approaches to strategy, finance and accountability worldwide, including strategic investments and controls

Research on global and international strategies has looked at global concentration, sector by sector, and the effects on global vs. regional strategies drawing on the experiences of top executives, in over 20 countries worldwide.

These include multinational enterprises, internationalising entrepreneurs, family firms and the effect of networks and social capital. Specific focuses for study have included the internationalisation process of technology firms and of firms from emerging economies, the development of international relationships, strategic investment decisions, knowledge and innovation transfer between units.

Research on top level approaches to strategy, finance and accountability include the roles of strategy vs. finance, both in terms of strategic investment decisions and financial and accounting controls, which have been compared over 20 countries worldwide, taking into consideration the effects of institutional and cultural differences.

The studies here employ diverse theoretical lenses, which include economics, behavioural theory of the firm, institutional theory, social network and social capital theories, and more resource- or knowledge-based views of the firm. We draw here on extensive field studies worldwide and include deep longitudinal and organisational studies.

This has led to top academic and practice-focused journals, including Business History, Sloan Management Review, and Journal of Management Studies.

Sample Projects

  • Strategic investment decisions and differences in 21 countries worldwide, including the roles of strategy, finance, institutions, and culture
  • Global concentration of sectors and consequent implications for global vs. regional strategies, including multinationals and family firms
  • International strategies and the effects of networks and social capital, and differences across countries, including smaller and medium sized businesses
  • Knowledge, learning, and relationships in the internationalisation of technology firms

3. Globalisation, Sustainability, and Society


  • Accountability and trust in organisations
  • Corporate responsibility and sustainability
  • Global governance, ethics, and business in society
  • The impact of globalisation and neoliberalism on organisations

Viewing governance as a cultural, political, economic, and organisational phenomenon, we use social and organisational theory to understand how global macro influences (for example, globalisation, neoliberalism, and sustainable development) shape micro-organisational practices, and how, in turn, these micro practices shape and influence macro structures.

Research here includes comparative corporate social responsibility, the practice of sustainability in MNEs, and the role of firms in international development. We further include issues such as accountability and trust and focus particularly on power relations within and between organisations and society.

The studies employ diverse theoretical lenses and have led to top academic and practice-focused journals including: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Business History, Journal of Business Ethics, Accounting, Organisation Studies, Public Management Review and Human Relations and Journal of Management Studies.

Sample Projects

  • The Mistrust Pandemic
  • CSR, public policy, and global market governance
  • Is CSR possible in the presence of Institutional voids?
  • Rethinking the CSR practices of MNEs and SMEs in developing economies
  • Africapitalism: Exploring the role of the private sector in Africa's development
  • Whither Public Service Broadcasting? Investigative Journalism in the age of neo-liberalism
  • The Dynamics of School District Consolidation: Race, Economics & the Politics of Educational Change
  • Childhood obesity policy: Understanding the disjuncture between policy formulation and implementation

4. Service Management


  • Service management in the public and private sectors
  • Service co-production and the co-creation of value
  • Innovation and change in public services
  • Digital and virtual services
  • Accountability and leadership in service businesses

Service delivery is becoming the defining feature of global economies in the twenty first century. Not only is the service sector becoming the key component of national economies throughout the world, but the manufacturing sector is increasingly looking to ‘service’ as a way both to add value to their products and to enhance their market position. Moreover, many of the key developments in management theory of the recent past have been rooted in the experience of the service sector.

This research theme directly addresses these key developments and draws together research in both the public and private sectors around the themes identified above. Current research projects include innovation in public service delivery, conceptualising co-production and its links to value co-creation, the role of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise in the service sector, and leadership in the arts and media.

The research draws strongly on institutional theory, social network and social capital theories, and both service-dominant and public service-dominant theory. This has led to top academic and practice-focused journals, including British Journal of Management, Service Industries Journal and Public Administration. The Group is also home to the journal Public Management Review. The research has also led to the coordination of a series of conferences on service management, including conferences in Shanghai and Budapest on social innovation.

Research Centres and Networks

Subgroups of the Strategy Group are involved with two principal centres and networks.

Centre for Strategic Leadership (CSL)

The Strategy Group supports the Centre for Strategic Leadership, a research centre focused on fostering an interdisciplinary understanding of strategic leadership.

Visit the CSL Website
Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI)

The Globalisation, Sustainability and Society subgroup supports the School's Sustainable Business Initiative, which aims to advance current understanding of the business-society interface.

Visit the SBI Website

Research Projects

Details of past and present research projects involving strategy are detailed on the Edinburgh Research Explorer.

View projects on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Upcoming Seminars