Graeme Smith



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Personal profile

Research Interests

Semiotics in Strategy

  • I am particualrly interested in strategy conversations through the lens of the semiotic interpretation of icons and artefacts embedded in the strategy discourse.
  • Using semiotic techniques my research has developed a diagnostic tool to reveal the world view and the position that key stakeholders may take in regards to the strategy narrative.
  • The locus of my research is knowledge interpretation in the fields of knowledge management and transfer.  The development of this diagnostic tool provide a means by which strategist can intervene in the way current strategy conversation impact on the devlopment of the strategy narrative as a remedial exercise to prevent strategic drift.

Personal profile

My main field of reference is in organisational semiotics and in particular the power of stories we share in a strategy setting, but more particularly in the field of strategy discourse; using semiotic techniques to diagnose the interpretation of strategy that forces participants to take a position on strategy.

Strategy implies major organisational change and consequently people will adopt various positions according to the threats and opportunities afforded by a new developing strategy. My research has developed a means by which the durability of strategy may be defined using semiotic tools to observe strategy through the construct of storytelling in the form of critical discourse analysis; narrative; rhetoric; metaphor; conversation; and argumentation using semiotic techniques.

This model provides insight into how key stakeholders interpret strategy in a wide verity of contexts that imply major organisation change, as a means of intervention through the knowledge management continuum from the interpretation of symbols; the use of syntax developing data and information; leading to knowledge transfer.

Power of Stories

Storytelling and narrative carry ideas of meaning fundamental to human communication. That that we seek to communicate is framed as sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste in such a way as we may interpret the meaning intended. This is the process of semiotics. Storytelling and narrative can change our world view as we strive to make sense of a new reality; and shapes our view of the world, changing what we think, what we feel, and what we do.

Just as positive stories can drive meaningful narratives, they can also remove our sense of hope; ability to control our own destiny; and lead to apathy and inertia. We use storytelling in all our interactions with other interlocutors as our world views overlap in much of our discourse and narrative, but this can also create unseen gaps that may result in the unknown or the unspeakable and lead to tension within the strategy discourse.

Without a counter narrative an undesired destination point is given the power, through the process of habituation, to become a reality. Diagnosing the interpretation of this internal conversation and the positions of those taken by other interlocutors engaged in the story may construct many possible futures.


Current Role

Senior Lecturer experience on undergraduate; post graduate degree courses; and professional chartered institute of marketing (CIM) professional qualifications. Student dissertation supervisor.  Develop, manage, and deliver teaching content to the required standard.  Experienced in designing and delivering blended learning courses for UG and PG degrees and professional qualifications (CIM).  Design virtual classroom environments and web content, seminars, and contact schedules.

Professional Information

Director of CearnagRuadh Consulting

CearnagRuadh provides consulting services and training to public, private and third sector organisations. CearnagRuadh helps clients to focus on achieving strategic objectives, improve organisational control and evaluation of performance against target by measuring what matters. This helps organisations to align people activity with strategy and create a culture of continuous improvement to achieve strategic objectives.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Solent University


Award Date: 31 Mar 2020

Master, Solent University

Award Date: 30 Nov 2000

External positions

Strategy and Business Planner, Ordnance Survey

24 Apr 197431 Dec 2009


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