Garfinkel on Strategy: Using Ethnomethodology to Make Sense of “Rubbish Strategy”

Neyland, D. and Whittle, A.. 2018. Garfinkel on Strategy: Using Ethnomethodology to Make Sense of “Rubbish Strategy”. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 53, pp. 31-42. ISSN 1045-2354 [Article]

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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 a studying fact production ‘in flight’. Strategic organization is thereby conceptualised as an ongoing achievement of member’s ethno-methods for producing it.

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Garfinkel; Ethnomethology; Strategy

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June 2018Published
8 April 2017Published Online
16 September 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2017 08:20

Last Modified:

14 Apr 2021 11:13

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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