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Xavier Castañer

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Xavier Castañer and Howard Yu

This chapter takes issue with what the authors identify as a tendency in the literature to overestimate middle managers’ strategic role, and perhaps more importantly, to underestimate top managers’ role in emergent strategy and the development of strategic initiatives. The authors argue that the Bower_Burgelman model – originally developed as descriptive theory – has been overinterpreted as a normative model. The result is a view of top managers’ role as process architect rather than active participant in emergent processes. These scholars argue that there are circumstances requiring a more substantive role. Crucial to understanding this claim, the authors observe that the unit of analysis – who is a middle and who is a top manager – depends on what level of strategy making constitutes the research focus. The chapter takes a contingent view and identifies four conditions requiring direction from top management in emergent processes.

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Nikolaos Kavadis and Xavier Castañer

In this chapter we present the evolution of the French institutional context within a changing global landscape, and reflect on its effects on the governance of domestic-based corporations, in particular as regards the composition and roles of the board of directors. Then, we discuss whether this changing context, including in terms of board governance, had an impact on the strategic direction of firms. The French context is particularly interesting for the study of the globalization of finance and the evolution of corporate governance. Scholars have described it as a context moving toward hybridization: neither fully aligning with the seemingly expanding liberal market system of political economy and governance nor fully persisting with its traditional political economic and governance features. We present some evidence to better understand this new emerging model and, more broadly, institutional change in corporate board governance and strategy in the context of globalization.