The Crafting of CEO Discretion in Practice

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16 Feb 2024

12:00 -13:30

Times are shown in local time.

Open to: All

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Room W2.02 (Cambridge Judge Business School)

Trumpington St



United Kingdom

Join our Strategy and International Business seminar

Speaker: Professor Maja Korica, IESEG School of Management

About the seminar topic

Seminar Strategy and International Business.

The traditional literature on managerial discretion has chiefly focused on identifying the relevance of factors outside of managers themselves, such as effects of industry and firm context, or on managers’ perception. Far less attention has been paid to executives’ actions, that is to what they do in relation to their own discretion as an evolving phenomenon. In our paper, we thus outline how, to productively cope with an increasingly constraining environment, chief executives craft discretionary spaces to act in accordance with own priorities. Our argument is that rather than being a given, discretion is constantly worked at, through what we can discretion work.

To this end, building on a shadowing-based study of healthcare chief executives in England, we identify three specific means – role framing, legitimating and boundary crafting – which CEOs engage in three modes: anticipatory, maintenance and reactive. This represents a conceptual view of discretion as not merely contextual and relational, but also purposeful: akin to a constantly shifting territory, delineated by sources of constraint (seeking, or having the potential to, reduce space for CEOs to act) and strategies engaged in response (as CEOs anticipate, maintain or push back against distinct constraints in certain ways).

Speaker bio

Professor Maja Korica holds the title of Full Professor of Strategic Management at IESEG School of Management, Paris. She specialises in studying the work of senior leaders and boards of directors, and the consequences of their actions on workplaces, neighbourhoods and societies. She is the founding organiser of the Interdisciplinary Studies of Elites reading group, as well as of the Organising (Around) Borders research collective focused on organisational issues surrounding refugees and migration.

In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Radar Award, as one of the “management thinkers most likely to share the future of how organisations are led and managed”. She comments regularly on management, work and society on Twitter @DrKorica.


No registration required. If you have any questions about this seminar, please email Luke Slater.