Session 43

The Role of Top Management in Strategizing

Track B

Date: Friday, March 19, 2010


Time: 13:15 – 14:45


Room: Kokoustila 2

Session Chair:

Title: Deep Dives: The Role of Top Management in Linking Existing Capabilities to New Core Activities


  • Howard Yu, IMD
  • Joseph Bower, Harvard University

Abstract: The inability of established firms to make necessary and obvious changes has been a topic of repeated scholarly inquiry. A refined analysis reveals that there are circumstances where managers fully understand the nature of the required change and the company has already developed the necessary capabilities, but the formation of a new set of core activities is nonetheless inhibited. This proposal outlines our current research that identifies the situations where direct top-down interventions are critical. Taking a micro-perspective on the resource allocation process, we show how “deep dives” by top management ensure specific routines and resource configurations. Structural arrangements, pre-set change routines, and existing decisional priorities are insufficient to fashion those relevant capabilities into a new set of core activities. An imposed project definition and selection is the key to success.

Title: Fostering Agility: Contextual Antecedents of First-Level Managers' Motivation to Engage in Autonomous Strategic Action


  • Stefan Linder, ESSEC Business School

Abstract: The processes by which autonomous strategies take shape are still less well understood than the induced strategy process that has been at the core of conventional strategic management research.
The present paper aims at improving our understanding of the antecedents of autonomous strategic action behavior by first-line managers. It derives hypotheses on the causal links between three commonly proposed antecedents of autonomous strategic action and an individual manager’s motivation and behavior using Self-Determination Theory. The hypotheses are tested using a quasi experimental vignette study.
The results lend support to parts of the hypotheses developed: Autonomy and leadership style were found to significantly impact motivation to engage in autonomous strategic action.

Title: Integrated Strategy and Corporate Social Performance: Does Having a Board-level Committee Make a Difference?


  • Elizabeth Bailey, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jungbien Moon, Korea University

Abstract: We propose to analyze companies that have engaged their boards of directors in integrated strategy by establishing voluntary public affairs or social responsibility committees at the board level, and see how their corporate social performance is affected by the practice. For this purpose, a panel data over the 9-year period between 2000 and 2008 is collected. We hypothesize that these board-level committees are established in an effort to fight problems in their corporate social performance. We further hypothesize that, once established, these committees help enhance corporate social performance by enabling the firm to integrate market and non-market strategies more effectively.

Title: Strategic Thinking and its Impact on Performance: An Upper Echelons Perspective


  • Srinivasan Raghavan, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore
  • Archana Shukla, Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow
  • Shad Shahid, Indian Institute of Management-Lucknow

Abstract: We attempt to elucidate the relationship between strategic thinking (distinct from strategic planning) and firm performance, grounded on the upper echelons perspective. The upper echelons theory argues that strategizing is best studied not only at the individual level but at the level of top management teams (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). We explore the moderating or mediating roles of cognitive process, including cognitive diversity, cohesion, facilitation, and conflict, in the relationship between strategic thinking and performance. We test our hypotheses from data collected from Indian managers and students, using structured instruments and a short business simulation exercise.

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