Reaction Paper Essay Example

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Reaction paper on participation strategy articles


In 20th and 21st century, strategy research is one of the areas of studies which dominated literatures. Strategy research has increased in business, government institutions and military due to its importance it service delivery and competitive advantage. In the wake of this research, participation has been regarded as what makes strategy even more accepted in decision making in modern organizations. In one of the researches which I took time to read is titled “Participation in Strategy Work”, Laine and Vaara supported the claim that participation in strategy is important and can result to poor decision making (1). In this article, the two authors claimed that participation is key issue in the SAP research which evaluates the actions of several stakeholders, and practices and processes they derive from strategy work. The argument is that strategy should involve many people inside the company and outside to make it widely accepted and successful; such people normally include top level managers, middle level managers, employees and customers and the general society. The customers and society are not informed that company is creating a new strategy but are rather asked the questions related in a bid to form the strategy. The article by Laine and Vaara contented that participation has four approaches including participation as an element of the strategy process, as a non-issue, as an element of subjectivity and participation as created through and in the organizational practices (1). Generally, the article “Participation in Strategy Work” regards strategy as a decision making which can either or which may only require participation of the top managers, as a process which involve several actors and such actors and process can impede or enable implementation and as post-structuralist approach. In the second article “On the Problem of Participation in Strategy: A Critical Discursive Perspective”, Mantere and Vaara argued that there some forms of discourses which hamper participation in the strategy processes. The article also researched on 12 organizations about the forms of discourses we can promote widespread participation (Mantere and Vaara 341). The article found three non-participatory perspective which influences strategy work and they include disciplining, technologization and mystification. On the other hand the article listed self-actualization, concretization and dialogization as the discourses which encourage participation (Mantere and Vaara 345).

Reaction on articles on Strategy Participation

As I stated earlier, participation as been identified as a major element in the strategy research. However, the study on the topic has never been exhausted as more authors tries to close gaps on participation on strategy work. In their study, Laine and Vaara had found that four approaches to participation in strategy work comprising of participation as an element of the strategy process, as a non-issue, as an element of subjectivity and participation as created through and in the organizational practices (1). I feel the article well articulates what used take place and to some extend still take place in the organizations. The authors’ explanation on participation in strategy as a non issue resonates well with traditional companies. It is true that most people and managers held that strategies are only formulated by the top managers and communicated to other in management chain such as middle level managers and line managers to implement (Laine and Vaara 3). The argument of top managers as the sole makers of the strategic decisions has been supported by the explanation of the roles of the manager.

However, I do not agree with the authors’ assertion that several studies have not focused on organizational or social processes as influencers of participation hence participation has stayed a non-issue. The truth that there are several studies which have focused on how the modern companies have been influenced organizational or social processes and are now moving to create an inclusive platform to come on board in decision making process (Laine and Vaara 3). Participation in strategic work might not be direct but now companies involve more internal stakeholders to lead it to market dominance. Creativity is part of the strategy and employees who are creative are now involved company plans to help the managers quickly come up with fresh ideas. The top managers such the CEO or even the directors could be final decision makers but they involve more people in the initial processes. Participation have strategic work therefore is more researched due to the fact that it makes strategy more accepted in decision making process. I believe that the article have well explained their argument that participation can itself be part of the strategy processes.

As affirmed earlier, I think strategy is more of decision making and involves planning. The planning (strategy) processes normally takes place at the departmental level, division level and corporate level. As a strategy process, participation is well accepted within these organizational departments as more come together under middle level managers to create a policy. I am in agreement with Laine and Vaara argument that participation as strategic process is important because it reduces biases in decision as more employees and middle level managers are engaged objectives of the organization (3). Normally at some instances, the strategy needs change especially if the top manager realizes that a certain market player is already using the same strategy. To change a strategy, interactive meetings and discussions are highly required between the management and the actors in order to iron out what is not effective (Laine and Vaara 6).

In my opinion, participation is an element of the strategic practices since in enable the company develops consensus and proactiveness. Participation as a process of strategy, I do not think it can be regarded as subjective. In most cases, strategic decisions are made by the top management and it is their own choice. Therefore, I do not agree that participation isolates top management from other actors within the organization and the statement look bias towards other members of the company. Actually, the managers understand that strategic look realistic to the company, therefore, can decide who to include in the formulation (Laine and Vaara 9). The second article has also presented what normally happens with strategic decisions.

I concur with the author that social and behavioral construction normally leads to how managers run the organization (Mantere and Vaara 344). The action of the managers can impede or encourage the participation from others actors in the decision making. Social and behavioral constructions are personal factors which influences their attitudes and how they deal with other actors within the organization. The article stated and discussed various factors which they believe can impede participation and the explanation matches most of what we witness in the current companies. One of such factors is mystification where most top managers feel their powers are given and they need not to share it with anyone (Mantere and Vaara 346). For such reason most of them want to make strategic without allowing participation from other members of the organization. I agree with the sentiments of Mantere and Vaara on the behavior of some top managers. In my observation, top managers often want to accumulate the power at the top hence might deny even the middle level managers strategy documents.

On the other hand, some use disciplining strategy where command is entrenched and middle level managers are rarely required to contribute in strategy formulation (Mantere and Vaara 346). These middle level managers are rather required to wait for strategies from top managers to implement. Despite the tension between top managers and other actors about strategy participation, the Mantere and Vaara have clearly showed that different factors can be used to promote participation in strategy work. Concretization is one such factor where rules are clearly stated how other members ought to contribute towards strategy formulation. Dialogization is another and also a suitable one. Mantere and Vaara argued that this is just formal dialogue where top managers and other actors come to agreement most people should be brought on board to increase the effectiveness of the strategy (346). However, I think self-actualization as a discourse to promoting participation might not work. The argument is sustained by the fact that most managers might not willingly allow for participation from all middle level managers.


Reading of the two articles gives a feeling these authors try to address the same topic about participation in strategy work. While Laine and Vaara researched on approaches to participation, Mantere and
Vaara address what impedes or promotes participation in strategy in the strategy. From the articles one may argue the participation may be or may not be important especially when Laine and Vaara discuss the participation as a non issue approach. The same is seen in Mantere and Vaara’s article when they discuss mystification factor. However, I think participation is a very important aspect of strategy formulation especially in modern competitive companies. Participation bring consensus and increases strength of a strategy which may last longer.

Works cited

Laine, Pikka-Maaria, and Vaara, Eero. Participation in strategy work. In D. Golsorkhi, L.

Rouleau. D. Seidl and E. Vaara (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Strategy as Practice, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Print

Mantere, Saku, and Vaara, Eero. On the Problem of Participation in Strategy: A Critical

Discursive Perspective. Organization Science, 19.2(2008): 341–358. Print