Using actor-network theory to analyse strategy formulation

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Drawing upon actor-network theory, this article analyses the sociotechnological construction of China's strategy for the telecommunications market transformation. We define the telecommunications market as the non-human actor. The public and society, the state, and the operators constitute three groups of human actors representing the social interests in the telecommunications industry. We have observed that these actors' interests are influenced by the situation of technology advance, the telecommunications development level, the macro reform progress and the national policies concerning the political and economic systems, and the international trend in telecommunications reforms. Owing to the dynamics of these contextual elements and the struggle of actors to inscribe their interests into the national strategy, China has transformed the telecommunications market by four stages, each stage with specific foci. Our case study demonstrates that the applications of actor-network theory can be extended to investigate the formulation of a national strategy. The research design in which the social and technological contexts are dynamically connected with strategy formulation can be drawn upon by other actor-network studies. © 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-275
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Actor-network theory
  • China
  • Socio-technological construction
  • Strategy formulation
  • Telecommunications

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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