Session 32

Metaphors and Minds

Track B

Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010


Time: 17:00 – 18:30


Room: Kokoustila 2

Session Chair:

Title: Integrating Cognition Research in the Strategy-as-Practice Agenda


  • Seraphim Voliotis, ALBA Graduate Business School at the American College of Greece

Abstract: The practice view expands the scope of strategy process research: upwards, towards the social level, and downwards, by viewing the strategic actor as an integral part of the context within which strategy is situated. Such humanization of strategy invites cognition research, which raises various problems: level disparity, philosophical and methodological grounding, and discursive misunderstandings. The present proposal sketches possible paths via which cognition research may complement the practice view of strategy: cognitive characteristics common to classes of strategic actors may explain organizational strategic acts, pragmatist assumptions may allow exploration of cognitive mechanisms causing the construction of situated realities, and deeper debates concerning intentionality, awareness, and action may be psychologically rooted. This proposal thus seeks to explore how misunderstandings in disparate strategy discourses may become productive.

Title: Management Cognition and Strategy-as-practice: Steps in Building a Bridge Between the Views


  • Ulla Killström, Aalto University

Abstract: The paper addresses the relationship between two views; top management cognition view and strategy-as-practise view in strategy formulation. The management cognition view concentrates on the interpretations the top management does in strategizing. The strategy-as-practice view concentrates on activities people do, tools and processes they use. The latter approach gives promises that strategy work is stretched to include different levels of organization and the work has impact on emerging strategy. Top managements’ attention is important in the strategy work. This paper aims to find out the important topics, which relate the strategy-as-practice view to the top management cognition. The paper reviews the discussion in the literature and identifies central themes in the two views for further research.

Title: Multiple Interacting Minds in Capability Development


  • Timo Vuori, Aalto University
  • Tomi Laamanen, University of St. Gallen

Abstract: We extend the existing research on the cognitive micro-foundations of capability development by investigating how the interaction between multiple interacting minds influences the capability development process. We first discuss how several cognitive challenges tend to emerge because of this interaction. Then we introduce the construct of shared understanding at both analytical and intuitive levels of cognition. Using this construct we argue that shared analytical understanding tends to have positive effects on capability development and that shared intuitive understanding further strengthens this relationship. Furthermore, we also argue that shared understanding tends to converge during the interpretation and reflection phases of capability development and diverge during the scanning and action phases. We conclude by identifying six different patterns of cognitive dynamics in capability development.

Title: The Processes and Outcomes of the Analogical and Metaphorical Framing of Strategic Change in 'The Wire'


  • Joep Cornelissen, Leeds University Business School
  • Robin Holt, University of Liverpool
  • Mike Zundel, University of Liverpool

Abstract: Strategic change disrupts established categories of stakeholder understanding and presents a problem of justification. Scholars have studied how existing categories shape understanding but spent less time investigating specific framing tactics by which existing and novel categories are invoked in an attempt to gain acceptance for change initiatives. Using data from four cases portrayed in the TV series 'The Wire', we address this gap by theorizing about the antecedents and outcomes of specific framing language and gestures that justify strategic changes in line with an existing or newly evoked set of categories. Specifically, dependent on (a) the degree to which a strategic change is substitutive or additive and (b) the heterogeneity and embeddedness of existing categories of interpretation across stakeholder groups, we theorize that managers are more likely to gain stakeholder acceptance and support when their framing suggests that they preserve but extend or reconstitute categories of understanding.

All Sessions in Track B...

Thu: 13:15 – 14:45
Session 34: Competitive Cognitive Dynamics
Thu: 15:15 – 16:45
Session 35: Sensemaking and Sensegiving
Thu: 17:00 – 18:30
Session 32: Metaphors and Minds
Fri: 10:15 – 11:45
Session 36: Cognition and Capabilities
Fri: 13:15 – 14:45
Session 43: The Role of Top Management in Strategizing

Strategic Management Society