Constructing spaces for strategic work: a multimodal perspective

Paula Jarzabkowski*, Gary Burke, Paul Spee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we take seriously the call for strategy-as-practice research to address the material, spatial and bodily aspects of strategic work. Drawing on a video-ethnographic study of strategic episodes in a financial trading context, we develop a conceptual framework that elaborates on strategic work as socially accomplished within particular spaces that are constructed through different orchestrations of material, bodily and discursive resources. Building on the findings, our study identifies three types of strategic work - private work, collaborative work and negotiating work - that are accomplished within three distinct spaces that are constructed through multimodal constellations of semiotic resources. We show that these spaces, and the activities performed within them, are continuously shifting in ways that enable and constrain the particular outcomes of a strategic episode. Our framework contributes to the strategy-as-practice literature by identifying the importance of spaces in conducting strategic work and providing insight into the way that these spaces are constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S26–S47
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue numberSupplement S1
Early online date15 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jarzabkowski, P., Burke, G., & Spee, P. (2015). Constructing spaces for strategic work: a multimodal perspective. British journal of management, 26 (Supplement S1), S26–S47, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Funding: Economic and Social Research Council (grant RES-173-27-0163), British Academy of Management (grant SG091192)


  • strategic episodes
  • space
  • strategic outcomes
  • semiotic resources
  • silence
  • multi-modality


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