The increasing ubiquity of digital technologies in the workplace has been accompanied by changes in the way that organisations approach strategy work.  Once a secretive, boardroom practice, new ‘open strategy’ initiatives promise transparency and inclusion.

This Digit Innovation Fund project explored emerging changes in the nature of strategy work in organisations.

While the importance of participative diversity for strategy formulation and implementation enabled by digital technology has been documented, the consequences for the nature of work of managers (or strategists) and non-managers (particularly employees) alike are not well understood. For instance, it is unclear if avowed openness of digitally-mediated strategy work removes obstacles for inclusivity and diversity of input into strategy processes, or whether it creates new divisions of labour.

To engage with this emerging phenomenon this project brought together partners from different industrial sectors that experiment with novel digital strategy practices with the aim of driving increased inclusion and transparency in strategy processes.

Research questions

  1. How has the role of strategists in organisations changed because of digitally-mediated practices and what does this mean for strategy processes and workplace change?
  2. How does digitally-mediated open strategy provide greater levels of inclusion, transparency, and voice for employees from across organisations in strategy processes?


In addition to a detailed literature review, the project used a number of different data collection methods to collect both primary and secondary data. This included:

  • 21 semi-structured interviews with those involved in strategy processes in organisations, including senior managers, middle managers, and employees (with data collected before this Digit project, we have conducted 44 interviews in total).
  • 32 survey responses from organisations about their strategy work processes.
  • Documentation data collected from 38 companies (including from annual reports, strategy reports, websites, and social media platforms).

Key findings

Three key findings have emerged from this project:

  • It identifies three types of actors who are involved in digital strategy work, and in enabling inclusiveness and transparency in strategy processes.
  • It outlines four different roles for digital technology in digital strategy work.
  • It develops a working framework to show how different actors and the digital technology they use is playing a role in strategy work in four ways, referring to these as different practices of digital strategy work.


Principal Investigator: Dr Josh Morton (Leeds University Business School)

Co-Investigator: Professor Krsto Pandza (Leeds University Business School)

Advisors: Professor Chris Forde (Leeds University Business School)

John Palfreyman (CEO, Palfreyman Ventures)