Article by Andrew BARRON (TBS Education)
Publised in Long Range Planning, Volume 56, Issue 3, June 2023

An institutional perspective is adopted in this examination of how strategists within a pharmaceutical firm successfully engage managers in the creation and execution of corporate political activity (CPA). These strategists are portrayed as institutional carriers, facing hurdles related to mindset, skills, and commitment when attempting to introduce new industry standards that favor inclusive CPA processes into an environment characterized by exclusive strategic practices. Overcoming these challenges that arise from the clash of institutional logics involves undertaking specific instances of institutional work.

The strategists’ capacity to carry out cultural and technical work, aimed at altering managers’ perceptions of CPA and empowering them to design and conduct innovative political actions, is enhanced by their expertise and social capital. Without the advantage of hierarchical authority, they rely on their personality traits, especially perseverance, to undertake more demanding political work with the objective of modifying organizational rules and bolstering commitment to CPA.

This investigation expands on the understanding of open strategy by exploring the involvement of managers in a complex and uncertain strategic activity previously overlooked, offering fresh insights into how strategists navigate individual-level constraints to open strategizing. By delving into the black box of corporate political strategizing and revealing political strategists as internal lobbyists prompting strategic change within firms, a significant contribution is made to the existing CPA literature.

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