A critical diversity framework to better educate students about strategy implementation

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This paper presents a conceptual framework for strategic management instructors to enhance teaching of strategy implementation. Strategy textbooks are valuable in teaching certain aspects of implementation like organisational structure. Much less attention is paid, however, to preparing students for the micro-level challenges and ambiguities of the tricky final stage of putting strategic plans into practice: the action and interaction of individuals when collaborating with and coordinating others. This paper explains how strategy instructors can use ‘critical diversity’ as a threshold concept to enhance students’ understanding and empathy for the micro-level complexity of strategy implementation and thereby develop students’ capacities to enact strategies successfully. Critical diversity is an umbrella term for studies of the contentious effects of strategic managerial approaches to workplace diversity. It relates to concerns with the social categories used in such approaches, the politics of diversity in the workplace and the emotion this engenders. These three areas of complexity, which we label boundary, political, and emotion complexity, comprise our conceptual framework and can be adapted to address implementation issues in the classroom. To put this framework into practice, we suggest learning outcomes and activities for advanced undergraduates and postgraduates, and implications for instructors and strategic management textbook authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-258
Number of pages18
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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