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Strategy-as-Distributed Phronesis

November 14, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

I just heard Professor Nonaka’s presentation about “strategy- as-distributed phronesis” at JAIST Forum 2006.

Because this work is still working in progress, there is no particular hard-copy or electronic file for further dissemination yet, except one Japanese article published in Hitotsubashi Business Review (Nonaka & Toyama, 2005)

After listening the whole presentation, I have some ideas and list them as follows. I believe some omissions in the presentation were made incidentally, while other conceptual discussions may interest for developing this potential master piece. (The page number mentioned is corresponding to the number appeared in the handout)
1.In the second slide, the description about “Evolutionary Economics” may mislead, the description is more like bounded rationality, rather than evolutionary economic, even that may similar as path dependence that proposed in the filed of evolutionary economics. I wounder a description about evolutionary process of organization routines under the consideration of path dependence, may be an more proper statement or other one may refer from Nelson and Winter (1982).

2. While we mentioned about phronesis, it is more like focus on the individual or a group of top executive, unless the ideas of strategy as the distributed phronesis solely focus on the leadership at the top executive, one inevitable inquiry would be how to transfer or spread that kind of practical wisdom to others with and beyond the organizational boundary.
If one only looks at the case of 7-11 Japan, it’s more likely imply so called phronesis is capable to be found or presented at the front line and shop floor, but most content of the presentation put more concentration at how those company leader or founder think, that may confuse the applicability of “strategy as the distributed phronesis

3. On Page 4, it mentioned phronesis “can acquire only through high quality direct experience”, a following inquiry one may ask would be “how to identify or just which kind of experience are capable to treat as high quality” and how to gain/access them? Apparently these two questions could be the following work for one expect to develop the phroneis based view.

4. On page 10, it mentioned to use language/concepts/ narratives, could it’s possible to be any hand on experience or effective routines to do that? or the phronesis based view just discern these differences but focus on more qualitative approaches?

5. On page 12, only timing and emotion have put into consider for making political judgment, may it miss the idea of political dependence between one making the judgment and those may be affected by that judgment? or one may doubt that could judgment maker ignore the power / political dependence among others for making that judgment?6. On page 19, co-creation may more close to the real world rather than creation, if we consider the context of service delivery process, or case of 7-11.


I found the the presenation material has prsented at Executive Academy, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration Austria on October 12, 2006. Those who may interest his presentation can try to access:



Nonaka, I. & Toyama, R. 2005. Strategy-as phronesis. Hitotsubashi Business Review, Winter, 88-103. (In Japanese)

Nelson, R. R., & Winter, S. G. 1982. An evolutionary theory of economic change. MA: The Belknap of Harvard University Press.

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