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The 33rd EGOS Colloquium will take place from July 6–8, 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and together with Georg von Krogh (ETH Zürich) and Richard Whittington (Oxford University) I will be convenor of sub-theme 50 on “Open Strategy: Practices, Perspectives and Problems“.  The sub-theme will pick-up threads of discussion from a previous EGOS subtheme on “Open Organizations for an Open Society?” held in 2015 in Athens. Please find the Call for Short Papers below, submission deadline is January 9, 2017:

Many organizations in public, private and non-for-profit sectors are becoming more transparent about their strategies, while also including a wider range of actors in strategy development. These moves involve a variety of strategy practices, for example strategy jamming (Bjelland & Wood, 2008), strategy crowdsourcing (Stieger et al., 2012), strategy blogs and wikis (Dobusch & Kapeller, 2013) or strategy simulations in online games (Aten & Thomas, 2016). Although involving many different practices, this phenomenon has been described most comprehensively as ‘open strategy’ (Chesbrough & Appleyard, 2007; Whittington et al., 2011).

Building upon these studies, recent works on open strategy have begun to look at open strategy from an increasing variety of perspectives such as impression management (Whittington et al., 2016), middle-management inclusion in strategy-making (Wolf et al., 2014) or the inter-organizational explorations of strategic issues (Werle & Seidl, 2015). However, systematic cross-fertilization between the emerging open strategy literature and other areas and concepts of organizational openness are still rare. Read the rest of this entry »

OSN-LogoFueled by new digital technologies and by the perceived success of concepts such as ‘open innovation’, we can observe a growing interest in open forms of organizing more generally both among practitioners as well as among organization scholars (see also the wiki-based course on the matter). One such new field representing the interest in organizational openness is the realm of strategy research under the label of ‘Open Strategy’. The recently launched online community platform ‘Open Strategy Network‘ tries to connect and foster exchange among scholars interested in this emerging phenomenon.

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Blogging about organizational strategy and even using blogs as a strategy-making device is an increasingly common practice among (not only) young firms. For instance, in a paper* co-authored with Thomas Gegenhuber, we analyze strategy blogging as an open strategy practice that increases transparency of and involvement in strategy making, while at the same time adding to the corporate impression management repertoire.

Consequentially, it comes at no surprise that non-profit organizations such as Creative Commons, which heavily rely on external communities such as different groups of license users, also engage in strategy blogging. Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, started the series of strategy posts with general reflections on sharing, followed by suggestions for the overall mission and role of Creative Commons in his second post:

CC must recognize its various roles in a variety of diverse and active communities. We provide essential infrastructure for the Web, and are vital contributors and leaders in these global movements. The opportunity to realize the benefits of openness will come from showing how “open” is uniquely able to solve the challenges of our time. Our role is not just as providers of tools, but also as strategic partners, advocates, influencers, and supporters to quantify, evangelize, and demonstrate the benefits of open.

Only after announcing that Creative Commons had received a $10 million grant from the The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to implement the new strategy, Merkley identified “three specific areas” that Creative Commons will focus on (emphasis in original: Read the rest of this entry »

The 31st EGOS Colloquium will take place from July 2–4, 2015 in Athens, Greece, and together with Georg von Krogh (ETH Zürich) and Richard Whittington (Oxford University) I will be convenor of a sub-theme on “Open Organizations for an Open Society? Practicing Openness in Innovation, Strategy and Beyond“. Please find the Call for Short Papers below, submission deadline is January 12, 2015:

EGOS2015-AthensOver the past decade, ‘openness’ has become one of the most imperative virtues of modern organizations. Originating in the field of open source software development (Raymond, 2001), we can observe increasing demands for all kinds of openness in fields such as open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006), open strategy (Whittington et al., 2011), open science (David, 1998) or open government (Janssen et al., 2012).

All these different ‘open paradigms’ share – and fuel – hopes of combining greater efficiency with more inclusive and transparent forms of organizing. In the context of open innovation, for instance, the literature anticipates technological (e.g. reduced production costs) and marketing (e.g. positive effects on reputation) benefits (Henkel et al., 2014). Open strategy, in turn, promises access to dispersed knowledge, with some even speaking of “democratizing strategy” (Stieger et al., 2013). In the realm of open government and open science, expected benefits are often connected with access to all kinds of open data (e.g. Molloy, 2011).

However, studies of openness in organizations also point to a number of potential weaknesses and pitfalls such as loss of knowledge and intellectual property (e.g. Henkel 2006; von Hippel & von Krogh, 2003). So, on the level of organizational practices, we need more research that addresses the challenges implied by greater openness in terms of organizational structures, boundaries and culture. And on a broader level, the boom of openness, as recently pointed out by Nathaniel Tkacz (2012), is curious within a supposedly already-open society (Popper, 1971). Why is there such a demand for openness and what does this tell us about society at large?

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The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
February 2017
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