Selling the Object of Strategy: How Frontline Workers Realize Strategy through their Daily Work



Balogun, Julia ORCID: 0000-0003-2863-004X, Best, Katie and Lê, Jane
(2015) Selling the Object of Strategy: How Frontline Workers Realize Strategy through their Daily Work. Organization Studies, 36 (10). 1285 - 1313.

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Abstract

This paper explores how frontline workers contribute to an organization’s realized strategy. Using a workplace studies approach, we analyse the work of museum tour guides as a salient example of workers engaged in frontline work. Our findings demonstrate the subtle and intricate nature of the embodied work of frontline workers as they ‘bring into being’ the strategic aims of an organization. We identified five elements as central to this process: (1) the situated physical context; (2) audience composition; (3) the moral order; (4) the talk, actions and gestures of the guide; and (5) the corresponding talk, actions and gestures of the audience. Drawing on these categories, we find frontline workers to demonstrate ‘interactional competence’: assessing and making use of the physical, spatial and material specifics of the context and those they are interacting with, and enlisting interactional resources to uphold a moral order that brings these others in as a working audience, encouraging them to respond in particular ways. Frontline workers thus skilfully combine language, material and bodily expressions in the flow of their work. Demonstrating these dynamics gives a more central role to material in the realization of strategy than previously recognized; demonstrates that ‘outsiders’ have an important part to play in realizing strategy; and highlights the importance of frontline workers and their skilled work in bringing strategy into being.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Frontline workers, Interactional competence, Materiality, Realizing strategy
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2015 14:55
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 17:10
DOI: 10.1177/0170840615590282
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2036639