Strategic improvisation: An introductory conceptual framework

Diórgenes Falcão Mamédio, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Victor Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: By exploring “what is strategic improvisation in organizations?” the authors respond to advances in strategic improvisation (SI) conceptualization with an emphasis on the challenges of combining unplanned but deliberate responses to relentlessly changing environments, in which strategy becomes increasingly improvised. Design/methodology/approach: An integrative review was conducted with the potential to develop new theoretical approaches to research problems. This literature review resulted in an introductory SI framework. Findings: The authors propose a SI conceptual framework combining foundation, structuration and capillarization. While foundations comprise extemporaneity, novelty and intentionality, considered as triggers for the manifestation of SI, in this study structuration refers to the combination of a minimal structure and a reassessment process in response to unexpected situations. Capillarization means interaction patterns characterized as spontaneous, dynamic and collaborative. This framework leads to the definition of SI as an impromptu deliberate action stream, combining unplanned responses with intentional actions sustaining the convergence of strategy and operation, to integrate and reconfigure resources at the strategic level. Practical implications: SI in practice considers reconfiguring the internal and external forces to deal with unexpected events and impromptu deliberate responses to face rapidly changing environments. This would enable practitioners and managers to prepare for eventualities that evolve dynamically and spontaneously, and unpredictable imminent global crises. Originality/value: The authors conducted the first study mapping improvisation as a strategic organizational level phenomenon. SI is recognized as operating across levels, from the tactical and functional to the strategic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-47
Number of pages24
JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022


  • Conceptual framework
  • Integrative review
  • Organization studies
  • Strategic improvisation
  • Strategic management


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