Document Type

Working Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Sociology, Social sciences


Corporate strategy emerged as large non-owner managed firms became economically important (Knights and Morgan, 1991). Strategy became the substitute for the earlier enterprise discourse, which depended on the dominance, in entrepreneurial capitalism, of owner-managed firms. The discourses of strategy and enterprise developed as separate academic areas and as logics of two very different economic domains. From the late 1970s however, large organizations (Kanter, 1983:27) and governments have been urged to be more entrepreneurial (Klein et al., 2010; Osborne and Gaebler, 1993). Meanwhile, small firms were encouraged to be more strategic (Carr, 2000). This article looks at evidence from small owner-managed firms to examine how strategy and enterprise discourse are related in the talk of practitioners, arguing that are good reasons to view them as a single integrated entity, bound together by some commonalities but more importantly by paired opposites reminiscent of ideological dilemmas (Billig et al., 1988).