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By exploring “what is strategic improvisation in organizations?” the authors respond to advances in strategic improvisation (SI) conceptualization with an emphasis on the challenges of combining unplanned but deliberate responses to relentlessly changing environments, in which strategy becomes increasingly improvised.Design/methodology/approachAn integrative review was conducted with the potential to develop new theoretical approaches to research problems. This literature review resulted in an introductory SI framework.FindingsThe authors propose a SI conceptual framework combining foundation, structuration and capillarization. While foundations comprise extemporaneity, novelty and intentionality, considered as triggers for the manifestation of SI, in this study structuration refers to the combination of a minimal structure and a reassessment process in response to unexpected situations. Capillarization means interaction patterns characterized as spontaneous, dynamic and collaborative. This framework leads to the definition of SI as an impromptu deliberate action stream, combining unplanned responses with intentional actions sustaining the convergence of strategy and operation, to integrate and reconfigure resources at the strategic level.Practical implicationsSI in practice considers reconfiguring the internal and external forces to deal with unexpected events and impromptu deliberate responses to face rapidly changing environments. This would enable practitioners and managers to prepare for eventualities that evolve dynamically and spontaneously, and unpredictable imminent global crises.Originality/valueThe authors conducted the first study mapping improvisation as a strategic organizational level phenomenon. SI is recognized as operating across levels, from the tactical and functional to the strategic.
Cross Cultural & Strategic Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 3, 2022
Keywords: Strategic improvisation; Conceptual framework; Strategic management; Organization studies; Integrative review
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