Session 36

Cognition and Capabilities

Track B

Date: Friday, March 19, 2010


Time: 10:15 – 11:45


Room: Kokoustila 2

Session Chair:

Title: Autonomous Action as a Agent of Transformation for Creating and Sharing Organizational Capability


  • Krsto Pandza, University of Leeds

Abstract: This research reports an in-depth and inductive study of autonomous action that resulted in development of a new organizational capability at the European subsidiary of global semiconductor manufacturer. The research is motivated by developing a better understanding of relationships between socially complex autonomous action and organizational capabilities. It attempts to unveil drivers and practices of autonomous engagement with a pattern of organizational capability development. This research provides evidence that intra-firm strategic differentiation, originating from intensive intra-firm comparison, initiates autonomous action. Creative search and knowledge integration present the characteristic practices of autonomous engagement with organizational capability. Transformative role of autonomous action is identified, which enables creative replication of sticky practices that already exist at the company into new organizational capabilities.

Title: Decision Streams and Attention Dynamics: A Demonstration of Strategy's Path Dependence


  • Armi Temmes, Aalto University
  • Liisa Valikangas, Aalto University

Abstract: In this article we recount the recent history of a major European steel company. We examine this history as a series of decision streams that have major implications for the development of the company strategy. The analysis of decision opportunities and their reasoning allows us the telling of a punctuated history, where the decisions guide management attention through a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism, which either accumulates attention or decreases attention to issues and answers. As a result we are able to empirically illustrate the recently proposed three-stage mechanism for the development of path dependence (Sydow, Schreyögg and Koch, 2009).

Title: Difference in Levels of Construal: Explaining the Implementation Gap and Strategy Emergence at a Micro-level


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

Abstract: The present multiple case study integrates recent insights in cognitive psychology with the practice view of strategy in order to explain, at the individual micro-level, the observed organizational meso-level phenomenon of the gap between strategy formulation and implementation. Strategy formulation is usually performed by the top-level powerful members, while implementation is usually performed by the less powerful. Yet, individuals with power will tend to construe events or objects at a higher level than the powerless, thus creating a cognitive gap. The proposed explanation of the observed gap suggests a conceptual path through which its size or detrimental effects may be managed. It may also be extended to partly explain the phenomenon of strategy emergence, even in organizations that strategize deliberately.

Title: Impact of Path Dependence and Divergence from Routines on Managerial and Stakeholder Forecasts


  • Rodolphe Durand, HEC-Paris
  • Russell Coff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Violetta Gerasymenko, New University of Lisbon

Abstract: Evolutionary theory highlights both how routines can enhance organizational efficiency or how they can ossify and hinder organizational adaptation. As such, diversions from routines may be significant events that may shape how opportunities are assessed. Unfortunately, there has been little research on how the divergence from routines may impact forecasts. We explore forecasts using a survey of 23 French venture capital funds investing in 195 startup firms. We examine how past experience and divergence from established routines influences future expectations. Findings suggest that managers’ past experience and divergence from their established routines have differing effects on manager forecasts and those compiled across stakeholders. These results highlight important observations for both theory and practice.

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