Strategy as practice: recursiveness, adaptation, and practices-in-use

Paula Jarzabkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, a social theory framework is developed to explain the common themes of recursive and adaptive practice underpinning the existing strategic management literature. In practice, there is a coexistent tension between recursive and adaptive forms of strategic action that spans multiple levels from macro-institutional and competitive contexts to within-firm levels of analysis to individual cognition. This tension may be better understood by examining how management practices are used to put strategy into practice. Such practices span multiple levels of context and are adaptable to their circumstances of use, serving to highlight both general characteristics and localized idiosyncrasies of strategy as practice. The article develops the concept of management practices-in-use into a research agenda and nine broad research questions that may be used to investigate empirically strategy as practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-560
Number of pages32
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004

Bibliographical note

© Sage 2004. The final publication is available via Sage at


  • strategy as practice
  • recursiveness
  • adaptation
  • management practices
  • social theory
  • strategizing


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