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Strategy and narrative in higher education

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Title: Strategy and narrative in higher education
Authors: Holstein, J
Starkey, K
Wright, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: In this article, we apply the idea of narrative to strategy and to the development of strategy in the higher education context. We explore how strategy is formed as an intertextual narrative in a comparative study of higher education in the UK. Existing research suggests that competition between narratives, such as that in higher education, should be problematic in strategy terms. We show that this is not necessarily the case. Unlike in other settings where new strategy narratives tend to drive out previous narratives, in higher education it is the on-going interaction between historical and new narratives that gives the content of strategy its essential voice. We show how apparently competing narratives are accommodated though appeals to emotion and values. The maintenance of strategic direction requires hope and a synthesis of societal values that maintains access to the past, the future, and multiple narrators. This approach helps us understand how universities perform the complex task of adapting the strengths of the university’s past to the challenges of external policy developments in strategy formation.
Issue Date: 16-Nov-2016
Date of Acceptance: 1-Nov-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/52572
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1476127016674877
ISSN: 1476-1270
Publisher: Sage Publications
Start Page: 61
End Page: 90
Journal / Book Title: Strategic Organization
Volume: 16
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2016. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Strategic Organization by Sage Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. It is available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1476127016674877
Keywords: Social Sciences
Business
Management
Business & Economics
higher education
intertextuality
narrative
strategic change
strategy formulation
strategy process
topics and perspectives
ORGANIZATIONAL IDENTITY
DISCURSIVE LEGITIMATION
UNIVERSITY-RESEARCH
KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY
PERSPECTIVE
DISCOURSE
DYNAMICS
CONSTRUCTION
ACQUISITIONS
PERFORMANCE
1503 Business And Management
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School