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Paula Jarzabkowski

Professor in Strategic Management, City, University of London

Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management. Her research focuses on strategy-as-practice in complex contexts, such as regulated firms, third sector organizations and financial services, particularly insurance and reinsurance. Her research in this regard has been foundational in the establishment of the field of strategy-as-practice. She is experienced in qualitative methods, having used a range of research designs, including cross-sectional and longitudinal case studies, and drawing on multiple qualitative data sources including interviews, observation, audio and video ethnographic techniques and archival sources to study private and public sector organizations. In particular, this includes the first global ethnography – a programme of research that included the use of video methods - of the reinsurance industry.

Professor Jarzabkowski’s career has been marked by a series of prestigious fellowships that have enabled her to conduct detailed ethnographic studies of business problems. For example, in 2006-2007, funded by an AIM Ghoshal Fellowship, she conducted an audio-ethnographic longitudinal study of the paradoxical tensions involved in implementing a major strategic shift in a regulated telecommunications firm. From 2009-2012, she held the inaugural Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative (IICI) fellowship, under which she conducted a 3-year audio and video ethnography of the global reinsurance market, which extended her skills from organisational to industry-level ethnography. From 2012-2014 she held an EC Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship at Cornell University.

Her work has appeared in a number of leading journals including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies and in 2005, she published the first book on strategy-as-practice, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage).

In addition, her engagement with industry has made Professor Jarzabkowski skilled in turning academic research into applied outputs, including collaborating with industry in developing research questions, and presenting here research at industry venues and conferences. The relevance of her work was recognised recently with the prestigious 2013 ESRC Outstanding Impact on Business Award.

Professor Jarzabkowski has just released a new book with Oxford University Press, entitled 'Making a Market for Acts of God: The Practice of Risk-Trading in the Global Reinsurance Industry' based on her 3-year ethnographic study of the industry.


  • –present
    Professor in Strategic Management, City University London