Lo strategizing in contesti complessi
Strategy-making takes place in webs of socio-material practices, where agency is mediated by artifacts and actors continuously reframe the way on which they give sense to their actions and objectives. Despite agency still depends on human actors, material artifacts can play a critical role in these ensembles of practices making strategizing always open to transformation. The practices associated with the strategy formation encompass conflicting people mental models, distributed knowledge and materiality for the development of a systematic, coherent and coordinated strategic process. The activities that qualify strategy-making are multifaceted and include a more or less deliberative and routinized individual decision-making and the conscious or unconscious exploration of emerging patterns. According to a cognitive approach to strategy-making, what strategists decide is largely influenced by their different perceptual filters, which are unique, as they were formed through the specific ways of engaging with the world, and by the construction of shared meanings. This consideration puts scholars to elaborate about the use of visual artifacts to frame strategic thinking and conceptualize a shared strategic orientation. The unfolding character of strategizing process stimulates to better understand the knowledge production process that explains the epistemic nature of the process itself. In particular, it has been demonstrated that the use of visual representations supports the knowledge production during the innovation processes as it facilitate the abstraction and the concretization of innovation practices. The potential benefits of using visual representations for fostering strategizing process have not yet been analysed extensively. Few case studies reflecting on the crucial role of visual representation in the strategy process and decisions in complex setting. This study aims to fill these gaps and explores how strategy maps shape the strategic practices within Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The Italian University setting is a complex research field as it is a multivoiced domain and a rapidly changing one. A recent reform is stimulating a radical change in the management policies making the strategy processes a pluralistic and uncertain work.