Strategy-as-coping in medium-sized enterprises: A social process of collective sensing for acquisition opportunities



We explore what may be learned from managerial practices of an established medium-sized enterprise (“MSE”) in surviving and thriving during a recession. Drawing on a Strategy-as- Practice (“SAP”) view of managerial action, an improvised strategic process was observed in four acquisitions undertaken by the MSE when its closely-knit management reacted to operational pressure by improvising ideas for potential acquisitions. This process, which we call “collective sensing”, occurred within unscheduled “get-togethers” in the workplace, when participants enacted a range of roles in a routine of sensing potential acquisitions. We explain collective sensing by viewing it as a consistent pattern of actions among top managers who used get-togethers as a creative platform for identifying a stream of potential acquisitions, including potentially valuable opportunities that have been overlooked in the market. Several contributions are proposed for developing and using collective sensing in SMEs as a practical managerial process that can produce high-potential acquisitions.


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