Strategy, Organisations and Society (SOS) is a leading research group committed to using social theory to understand major strategic, organisational and societal issues.
This commitment to social theory is what makes us unique. In contrast to mainstream economic perspectives, we view strategy as an important cultural, organizational and political phenomenon.
We advance academic, practitioner and policy debates in strategy and organisation studies. We possess specific strengths in the use of theories of power, identity, institutions, symbolism and discourse.
We engage with a range of organizations and have particular expertise in the fields of the media, multi-nationals and the organised professions, alongside the longitudinal study of business and business practices.
The ethos of the group is to produce creative and innovative research that generates new insights into important strategic and organizational issues, both longitudinally and from a contemporary perspective. The group is run by Professor Frank Mueller and Professor Iain Munro.
All our research is underpinned by the application and advancement of theory from the social sciences and humanities. We have particular expertise in theories of power, identity, institutions, discourse, rhetoric and narrative. Our research is inter-disciplinary and develops links with fields across the social sciences and humanities.
Our research has led to significant advancements in how we understand the strategic and organizational challenges of our time by drawing on major social theorists, such as Foucault and Bourdieu.
For research events including seminar series, please see our research events page.
SOS research is organised into four themes.
Societal crisis and transformationSocietal crisis and transformation
This theme explores the challenges posed by major social transformations, such as the global financial crisis and globalisation. Research projects include:
- the role of ownership structures, board composition, institutional investors and financial intermediaries in corporate governance (Anna Tilba; Claudia Gabbioneta)
- change, transformation and entrepreneurship within and between institutional fields (Roy Suddaby)
- corporate corruption and fraud (Claudia Gabbioneta)
- corporate social responsibility: the influence of international sustainability standards on firms' practices (Laurence Vigneau) and the transition to sustainable business practices (Natalia Yakovleva)
- critical perspectives on struggle, resistance and subjectivity in the post-Fordist economy (Frank Worthington)
- financialisation, financial markets and the financial crisis: the role of financial intermediaries (securities analysts, ratings analysts, auditors, consultants, regulators) in financial markets (Claudia Gabbioneta); the discourse of responsibility, blame and morality of bankers and auditors in the financial crisis (Andrea Whittle; Frank Mueller)
- global outsourcing and the influence of global value chains on firms' strategies and practices (Jingqi Zhu)
- globalisation and international development in emerging economies (Peter Edward, Jingqi Zhu; Faten Baddar Alhusan)
- social transformation and change in post-industrial society (Andreas Giazitzoglu; Peter Edward); social change and female entrepreneurship (Elina Meliou)
- symbolic dimensions of politics and religion in post-reconciliation Northern Ireland (Frank Worthington)
- the challenges and opportunities of privatisation and liberalisation in post-socialist economies of Central and Eastern Europe (Charles Harvey)
- the role of business in society, corporate social responsibility and business ethics in relation to major global challenges such as poverty and inequality (Peter Edward; Laurence Vigneau), and climate change (Peter Edward; Victoria Pagan; Iain Munro) and charitable giving (Charles Harvey)
- the role of the corporation in contemporary society (Roy Suddaby)
Professions and elitesProfessions and elites
This theme studies how organized professions and elite groups affect society. SOS has strong links to the Professions, Work and Organization Research Group. Past and present research projects include:
- power and elite groups: the field of power and reflexivity by elite groups (Charles Harvey) and Scottish banking elites (Alan McKinlay)
- professions and jurisdictional boundaries between non-executive directors and clinicians (Charles Harvey; Frank Mueller; John Sillince)
- professionalisation projects in emergent and aspiring professions (management, management consultancy) (Daniel Muzio)
- strategies of legitimacy, modes of domination and responses to regulation by the "Big Four" accounting firms (Roy Suddaby; Andrea Whittle; Frank Mueller)
- the effects of re-organization, managerialism and neo-liberal reforms on professional engineers (Frank Mueller), accountants (Frank Mueller); lawyers (Daniel Muzio); architects (Stewart Clegg); and the NHS (Charles Harvey; Frank Mueller)
- the management and organization of professional service firms (in Law, Medicine, Accountancy) (Daniel Muzio; Roy Suddaby)
- the relationships between business elites and corporate governance in France and the UK (Charles Harvey)
- the role of professional service firms (securities analysts, ratings analysts, auditors) in financial markets (Claudia Gabbioneta)
- trans-national regulation of professional service firms (Roy Suddaby)
Strategising and organisingStrategising and organising
This theme examines how strategies are made, and the impact they have, from a social theory perspective. Key projects include:
- agency and reflexivity in firm’s strategic orientation (Elina Meliou)
- agency, control and surveillance in contemporary organizational forms (Frank Worthington)
- competitive strategies through information warfare (Iain Munro)
- corporate strategies for managing organized labour (Alan McKinlay)
- international strategy and management of MNCs (Jingqi Zhu; Andrea Whittle; Frank Mueller; Faten Baddar Alhusan)
- organizational and regional growth, decline and failure (Tom McGovern)
- organizational misbehaviour (Frank Worthington) and deviance (Robert Willison)
- relationship between organizational change, technology, and identity and the function of language and materiality in shaping those phenomena (Paul Richter)
- relationship between strategy and accounting practices, organizational form, and culture within small business (Simon Parry)
- sense-making and sense-giving in strategic interaction (John Sillince; Stefanie Reissner; Andrea Whittle; Frank Mueller)
- strategic ambidexterity and the politics of innovation (Allanah Johnston)
- strategy and history: How organizational history is 'carried into' strategy-making in Proctor & Gamble and the Hilton Group (Charles Harvey), history as a rhetorical strategic function and source of competitive advantage (Roy Suddaby)
- strategy-making at the BBC (Alan McKinlay) and Proctor & Gamble (John Sillince; Charles Harvey)
- the effects of life-course, moral beliefs and socialisation on criminal behaviour at work (Robert Willison)
- the relationship between global strategies and local institutions (Daniel Muzio)
- theories of organizational justice and workplace behaviour (Robert Willison)
- transformational change in organizational forms under Fordist mass production (Alan McKinlay)
Networks and collaborationNetworks and collaboration
This theme seeks to identify the social processes that underpin coordinated action in intra- and inter-organizational networks:
- collaboration dynamics in industry-education contexts (Fiona Whitehurst)
- inter-organizational and intra-organizational networks of actors in the field of power (Charles Harvey; Faten Baddar Alhusan)
- organizational change and meaning-making through storytelling (Stefanie Reissner; Victoria Pagan) and coaching (Stefanie Reissner)
- participative design and transformational change (Tom McGovern)
- processes of interaction between businesses, and other stakeholder groups (e.g. government, NGOs, Universities), that lead to the development of clusters and result in regional economic and social development (Fiona Whitehurst)
- public/private partnership collaboration in the Sydney Olympics mega-project (Stewart Clegg) and the delivery of local government services (Stefanie Reissner)
- trust in dyadic relationships (Susan Addison; Faten Baddar Alhusan) and mechanisms of trust generation and restoration through systems of audit and public enquiry (Frank Mueller; Susan Addison)
Are you a teleworker or manager of teleworkers?Are you a teleworker or manager of teleworkers?
Then we would be keen to hear from you for our research into teleworkers’ boundary work.
Many office staff have become teleworkers, operating in multiple locations mediated by telecommunications but little is known about how they negotiate the boundaries between work and non-work. Without such boundaries, they may do too little work with negative effects on their performance and career or too much work with negative effects on their health and wellbeing.
Rights now there are debates among scholars and professionals about the value and risks of teleworking practices for individuals and organisations to which our study contributes. We seek to explore the processes by which teleworkers negotiate the boundaries between work and non-work by asking:
- What are teleworkers' work and non-work spaces?
- What meanings do teleworkers assign to their work and non-work spaces?
- How do teleworkers negotiate and symbolise the conceptual and spatial boundaries between work and non-work?
Through our study we seek to inform the development of suitable teleworking practices through engagement with teleworkers like you, organisations using agile working practices and professional bodies.
Participating in the research
Participating in our research involves talking to us about the spaces that you use for work and non-work, what symbolic meanings they have for you and how you negotiate the boundaries between them.
We would be keen to see pictures or photographs that symbolise these spaces for you and to hear your stories of working in them: what works well and what is a struggle. Our conversation would be around one to two hours long and can take place at a location that is convenient for you.
Get in touch
Dr Stefanie Reissner, Senior Lecturer in Management and Organisation Studies, Deputy Subject Group Head Leadership, Work and Organisation (LWO).
Dr Michal Izak, Senior Lecturer, Lincoln Business School
We gratefully acknowledge financial support for this research by the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Leverhulme Trust as part of their Small Research Grants Scheme.
Professor Frank Mueller
Chair in Strategy and Organisation
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 1682
Dr Elizabeth Alexander
Senior Lecturer in IBM and Strategy
Telephone: +44(0) 191 208 1551
Dr Peter Edward
Director of Full-time MBA, Lecturer in International Business Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1599
Dr Andreas Giazitzoglu
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, PhD coordinator for Innovation and Enterprise (MOS subject group)
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1699
Professor Charles Harvey
Professor of Business History and Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5812
Dr Allanah Johnston
Degree Program Director, MSc International Business Management / Lecturer in Human Resource Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8566
Dr Oliver Mallett
Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour
Telephone: +44 (0) 1912081508
Professor Alan McKinlay
Prof of Human Resource Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1565
Dr Stefanie Reissner
Senior Lecturer in Management and Organisation Studies, Deputy Subject Group Head Leadership, Work and Organisation (LWO)
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1717
Dr Anna Tilba
Lecturer in Strategy and Corporate Governance, Director of Corporate Engagement
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1628
Professor Andrea Whittle
Chair in Management and Organization Studies
Dr Robert Willison
Deputy Director of Doctoral Programmes and Degree Programme Director for N200: Senior Lecturer
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 1510
Dr Natalia Yakovleva
Senior Lecturer in International Business Strategy, Programme Director for BSc (Hon) International Business Management (London Campus)
Telephone: +44(0)203 752 2448
Dr Faten Baddar Alhusan
Lecturer in International Human Resource Management
Telephone: +44(0)203 752 2447
Dr Saurabh Bhattacharya
Lecturer in Marketing
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1685
Dr Peter Eckersley
Professor Giorgio Fazio
Prof of Macroeconomics
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1642
Dr Claudia Gabbioneta
Senior Lecturer in Accounting & Finance
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1728
Dr Jo McBride
Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations, Work and Employment
Professor Tom McGovern
Professor of Business History and Management, Associate Director of the Leadership, Work and Organization Group, and Director of The Business, Accounting and Management History Research Group
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1712
Dr Elina Meliou
Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and HRM, Degree Programme Director MSc International Business Management
Telephone: +44(0)203 752 2446
Dr Simon Parry
Dr Paul Richter
DPD - MA Arts Business & Creativity and MSc Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 2081696
Dr Adrian Small
Lecturer in Operations Management
Telephone: +44 0191 2081688
Professor Roy Suddaby
Professor of Strategic Management and Organization
Professor Steve Vincent
Professor of Work and Organisation
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1706
Dr Fiona Whitehurst
Senior Lecturer in Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1603
Dr Ying Yang
Senior Lecturer in Operations Management DPD for Dual Degree in Operations Management
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1593