School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc Degree Programme in Strategy | 2016
Thesis number: 14595
Everyday actions that count - how strategy is made sense of in the Finnish game industry
Author: Nummelin, Linda
Title: Everyday actions that count - how strategy is made sense of in the Finnish game industry
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc Degree Programme in Strategy
Index terms: johtaminen; management; strategia; strategy; toimialat; business branches; pelit; games; viihde; entertainment; diskurssianalyysi; discourse analysis
Pages: 86
Key terms: game studies; strategy as practice; sensemaking; discourse analysis
Strategy is often seen as something that firms have rather than something people do. It is also often associated as being exclusively a managerial activity. The "practice turn" in strategy research questions both of these assumptions and calls for wider understanding of what strategy actually is, how it is practiced and who are the strategy practitioners. This thesis draws upon the existing strategy as practice research: what practicing strategy can mean, and how anyone in the organizational hierarchy can be seen as a strategy practitioner. Strategy is discussed especially as a language game, in which strategy exists and is constructed through talk and language.

In order to understand the strategy sensemaking and the strategy practicing in a practical context, this thesis takes a look at the Finnish game industry and the gameworkers working in there. Increasing in amount, but calling for more research to be done about how games are made, the field of game studies shows how games are created in diverse and multi-disciplined teams of professionals. Game industry is often described as creative, curious, passionate and technology-driven. The companies are forced to adapt rapidly to new technologies, and the industry has experienced several disruptions over the last decades. The Finnish game industry is in a unique position at the current moment as the number of game companies is skyrocketing and few stars are leading the way with enormous profits. What are strategies of reaching at the stars, or do they exist at all? And how do the gameworkers make sense of them them as a part of their work?

This study aims at understanding how the gameworkers make sense of strategy in their work and how micro activities contribute to the realization of strategies, in other words, strategy practicing. The research was conducted by following qualitative research methods: conducting focus group interviews and using discourse analysis to understand the underlying situated, constructed and action-oriented meanings of strategy. The three discourses that emerged were 1) strategy as growth, in which companies were balancing between growing enough and too much; 2) the invisibility discourse in which strategy was discussed and implemented through invisible forces called strategy and values; and 3) everyday actions discourse in which the strategy was realized through concrete actions.

The findings reveal that strategy is made sense of through interactive events - it is discussed and debated, but not necessarily written down in a formal format. Strategy is also often interpreted through values and culture, and strategic everyday decision-making is based on both values as well as growth ambitions. Finally, strategy is realized through daily work of game professionals, and constantly constructed through everyday actions.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.