Defense of Thesis in Organization & Management, Jukka-Pekka Kevätsalo, KTM, KM

Title of the thesis is: "Strategy Work and Digital Awakening: The Discoursive Formation of Strategic Change"
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The doctoral thesis of Jukka-Pekka Kevätsalo (KTM, KM) "Strategy Work and Digital Awakening: The Discoursive Formation of Strategic Change" will be publicly examined at the Aalto University School of Business on Friday December 8, 2023. 

The public defense will be held at the School of Business, Hall V001 starting at 12:00. 

Opponent: Professor Marko Kohtamäki, University of Vaasa
Custos (Chairperson): Professor Henri Schildt, Aalto University School of Business

This study examines how the power of digitalization discourse can drive strategic change. The case study focuses on Finland’s largest financial company OP Group, which in the mid-2010s, aimed to implement “transformative strategies” justified through digitalization discourse. 

Positioned within the sociological domain of strategy research, the study’s interest lies not in what strategies organizations have or should have, how they should be executed, or their success rate. Instead, it delves into how the often most significant mechanism of power within organizations—strategy—is crafted, who is doing the crafting, and why they do it as they do. This research adds new insights into sociological strategy studies, particularly those focusing on linguistic phenomena. 

The study found that hegemonic discourse - in this case, discourse about digitalization - can be a significant driver of strategic change. Such hegemonic discourses can manifest not only as societal discourses but also as interpretations specific to individual organizations. Each organization can thus have its own unique perspective on digitalization. It was also observed that both leaders and other employees utilize this type of discourse to facilitate change. The research reveals how digitalization discourse can accelerate and direct change, yet it can also obscure other critical issues, such as cost cuts and changes to work brought about by digitalization. 

Understanding the role of hegemonic discourses in strategy work is crucial, both academically and for practitioners. Those involved in strategy work - such as leaders, consultants, experts, and anyone engaged in significant change efforts - need to comprehend the impact of power discourses on their work. This not only helps in utilizing hegemonic discourses as a tool to facilitate change but also allows for a critical examination of organizational operations - after all, we wish to be aware of the currents that influence the course of our organizations.

Online version of the thesis is here

More information:

[email protected]


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