Scholars have called for more dynamic and embedded views of strategy which concurrently pay heed to the initiatives of actors who strategize at the micro level and which account for the embeddedness of these initiatives within the macro social context. Recent literature suggests that social enterprises such as cooperatives may be more “pluralistic”. They are characterized by multiple objectives, both social and economic, and diffuse power distribution that allows multiple stakeholders to influence the goals pursued. Moreover, members of cooperatives share a multifaceted relationship with their organization, at once members, owners, suppliers and customers. Given their close involvement in this context, cooperatives provide an ideal type for enunciating an embedded view of strategy. However, studies of cooperatives in the management literature have dealt with either macro population-level studies or with micro studies that look at membership. There are few studies that connect the micro and macro levels of analysis to examine how strategic initiatives of cooperatives are placed in the broader sociopolitical context. Drawing on data obtained from fieldwork conducted in Amul cooperative, the author provides a contextually embedded narrative of the strategy process underlying Amul’s growth during the period 1948–1962. This narrative reveals that Amul’s strategy was formed through an interaction between its strategic intent, its initiatives and through the embedding of these initiatives within India’s political economy.
Abhijit Ghosh has a PhD in Strategy and Organization from McGill University. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University. In his dissertation research, Abhijit explored the implications of embeddedness of strategy on the evolution of a social enterprise. His main areas of research interest are strategy process and social entrepreneurship.