The power of PowerPoint: Top 20 most read paper in the Strategic Management Journal

10 July 2019

A paper written by two Warwick Business School academics, Sotirios Paroutis, Professor of Strategic Management, and Loizos Heracleous, Professor of Strategy, has been named one of the top 20 most read papers in the Strategic Management Journal.

Professors Paroutis and Heracleous, along with co-author Eric Knight, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, wrote The power of PowerPoint: A visual perspective on meaning making in strategy. Between publication in November 2017 and December 2018, the paper was a top downloaded article and has been named one of the top 20 most read papers published in the Strategic Management Journal.

Commenting on their achievement, Professors Paroutis and Heracleous said: “We are delighted to hear that our work has been recognised this way. Publishers now use new ways to measure the impact of their journals, and number of downloads is one of them. In this new playing field, WBS is present. In the Strategy and International Business group, we conduct cutting-edge research and our piece encapsulates this approach. This is also a testament of the strength of the WBS research environment to support breakthrough ideas and studies.”

The power of PowerPoint: A visual perspective on meaning making in strategy looks at consultants and managers in strategy consulting projects and explores how visual information such as PowerPoint slides can affect the strategy process. The findings suggest that those who are responsible for designing and editing the slides for presentations can strongly influence the direction of strategy.

Talking about the research, Professor Paroutis said: “Our research highlights how PowerPoint slides, as a critical strategic tool, are used and employed to create strategy. Slides are not an end product, but a tool to stimulate engagement and wider discussion. Since the power is in the eye of the slide creator, practitioners should consider: by whom, for whom and how these slides are created. Starting with a draft pack of slides and using a wider group of managers to co-produce and develop these would be a good approach for strategists designing a more open strategy process in their firms. Opening up discussions from the visuals in the slides is as important as the design of the visuals itself.”

More information on the role of PowerPoint in strategy making can be found here.

Read the paper:

Knight, E., Paroutis, S. & Heracleous, L. (2018) The Power of PowerPoint: A Visual Perspective on Meaning Making in Strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 39(3): 894–921

Professor Sotirios Paroutis teaches on our Executive MBA, Executive MBA (London) and MSc Marketing & Strategy. Professor Loizos Heracleous teaches on our Executive MBA and Executive MBA (London).

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