Strategic intent as a rhetorical device

Saku Mantere*, John A A Sillince

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Strategic intent is a useful concept in accounting for purpose and continuity of goals in an organization adapting to internal and external developmental pressures. Yet, extant literature on strategic intent does not account for heterogeneity of goals within an organization. Indeed, there is confusion over who possesses strategic intent. In this paper, we seek to revitalize the concept of strategic intent by exploring its potential as a rhetorical device. Based on philosophical theory of collective agency, we argue that to realize the integrative promise of strategic intent in organizations, achieving coherence between multiple intents is the most viable option. Drawing from rhetorical theories, we investigate the processes involved in diffusing intent and building coherence between multiple intents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)406-423
    Number of pages18
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


    • Agency
    • Coherence
    • Rhetoric
    • Strategic intent
    • Strategy


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