Strategy Workshops and “Away Days” as Ritual

Nicole Bourque and Gerry Johnson

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Decision Making

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780199290468
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Strategy Workshops and “Away Days” as Ritual

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  • Business and Management
  • Business Strategy
  • Human Resource Management



Management researchers have made few attempts to study strategy events and to build explanations from theories. In particular, the management literature has failed to explain why the social dynamics, the often intense emotional experiences of participants, and the intended strategies formed at these events are not always realized after the event. This article uses the ritual theory, developed by anthropologists, in order to shed light on these processes. In particular, this entails a focus on theories of rites of passage and of ritualization. This article describes a “typical” strategy event and discusses the similarities between this event and a rite of passage. Then, it uses ritual theory to analyze this case study and explain the phenomena that arise during and following the event. Finally, it suggests areas of future research and offers some advice for managers and facilitators of such events.

Keywords: strategy events; social dynamics; emotional experiences; ritualization; typical strategy; management literature

Article.  5723 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Strategy ; Human Resource Management

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