Deconstructing Strategic Inflections by Imagery

Yue Cai-Hillon, Mark E. Hillon, David M. Boje


Traditionally, strategic messages were communicated through the power of text and financial measures. Over the years, with an increased use and evident impact of aesthetics, such as art, corporations began to incorporate imagery in strategic messages to strengthen their persuasive power. The addition of this creative use of art has also brought interest in strategy analysis to help uncover those hidden messages and identify marginal but living voices, in other words, antenarratives. In the role of a strategy spectator, understanding the signals for corporate strategic inflection prior to its occurrence is essential when calculating a company’s future performance. These signals are never handed to you. They are hidden and cannot be identified by accepting the face-value of the dominant and apparent organizational voices, delivered through corporate documents. When a spectator is swooped into the organizational dominant storyline, he/she becomes part of the grand narrative and loses his/her critical perspective. Instead, strategic inflection signals should be identified through organizational antenarratives, uncovered in the deconstruction of an organization’s strategy storytelling. Deconstruction of imagery, as a new complementary method to text and financial reporting embedded throughout corporate documents, helps strategy spectators understand a more abstract and less obvious side of strategy authors’ strategic intentions. In the case of Motorola, this paper will demonstrate how imagery has been incorporated into organizational storytelling and how deconstruction could help strategy spectators make sense of and potentially anticipate strategic inflections.


Strategic Inflection, Deconstruction, Strategy, Imagery

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