Complex Strategic Integration at Nike: Strategy Process and Strategy-as-Practice Combined

Complex Strategic Integration at Nike: Strategy Process and Strategy-as-Practice Combined

October 2015Working Paper No. 3348

This paper documents complex strategic integration (CSI) at Nike that helped drive the company toward developing a global women’s fitness business, which extended the corporate strategy and required collaboration of multiple business units. The study involved longitudinal field research to document the development of Nike’s global women’s business (pre-2006) and track its further evolution (2006-2014). The theoretical lens combined tools of strategy process with tools of strategy-as-practice. This helped highlight upward/downward and lateral leadership activities involved in CSI that complement the leadership activities highlighted by strategy process. The paper illuminates the relatively under-researched phenomenon of CSI and adds to knowledge about the structural factors and strategic leadership activities that affect its effectiveness. It also contributes by showing how received strategy process knowledge and strategy-as-process knowledge can be usefully combined to gain more complete and deeper insight in CSI.