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Garfinkel on strategy: Using ethnomethodology to make sense of “rubbish strategy”

Daniel Neyland and Andrea Whittle

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2018, vol. 53, issue C, 31-42

Abstract: This paper has three aims. First, it presents what the term ethnomethodology means and explains some of its central concepts and tenets. Second, the paper illustrates an ethnomethodological approach to studying strategy by drawing on a fieldwork study of the development of a waste management strategy in a UK Local Authority, conducted by the first author. Third, the distinctive approach that ethnomethodology takes to the study of social organization is presented in order to outline what it could offer to the understanding of strategic organization in particular. The paper concludes by discussing the insights that ethnomethodology can offer in the strategic management field, including existing applications and potential future lines of enquiry, particularly in the field known as Strategy-as-Practice. The conclusion advocates a move away from rational analytic models, proclamations and prescriptive treatments of strategy towards studying the more mundane work that enables strategic action to take place, notably the production of accounts of various kinds. It is argued that through accounts, members produce the social facts that generate ‘strategies’ of various kinds. This necessitates studying fact production ‘in flight’. Strategic organization is thereby conceptualised as an ongoing achievement of member’s ethno- methods for producing it.

Keywords: Garfinkel; Ethnomethology; Strategy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:crpeac:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:31-42