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Comparative Cause Mapping of Organizational Cognitions


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Increasingly, thoughtful managers recognize the role of knowledge and learning in corporate action and performance. Concurrently, a new field, management and organization cognition (MOC), has emerged producing useful insights and findings. Thus far, empirical studies have largely focused on single cases or actors, using often archival data and sometimes ambiguous methods. To advance the field will require pragmatic tools for eliciting data on thinking in real organizations and for conducting rigorous and more comparative studies of management and organization cognitions. This paper describes a method for comparatively studying real-life managerial thinking, defined here as the respective manager's beliefs about key phenomena and their efficacy links in their strategic and operative situation. The applicability of such a definition will depend on the requirements of research at hand. The payoff is that, thus defined, key elements in managerial and organizational cognitions can be usefully captured by cognitive mapping, an established approach in MOC research. The approach contains, first, a method for eliciting comparison-enabling interview data of several subjects. Then, using researcher-based, interpretive standardization of the individual natural discourses, databases of standard concepts and causal links, constituting the cause map elements, are distilled. This facilitates a text-oriented description of the thinking patterns of single actors like managers or organizational groups, which can be used in traditional-type mapping studies, which typically assume unitary or quasi-unitary actors. However, the method is intended for comparative analyses, e.g., for pinpointing the cognitive differences or similarities across organizational actors or for constructing and comparing groups, assumed cognitively homogenous. Also, it is applicable for longitudinal studies or aggregated, e.g., industry-level, descriptions of MOC. A PC application is available for the technique, although many of the processing tasks are amenable to general-purpose relational database software. The paper presents a study case comparing the cognitive structures of managers in two interrelated industries in terms of their concept bases and causal beliefs. The objective was to understand the substance of management thinking, as well as the formative logic behind how managers come to think in the shared ways. It is shown that patterns of industry-typical core causal thinking, manifestations of a dominant logic or recipe, can be located, operationalized and comparatively analyzed with this method. Substantively, the contents of management thinking are typically products of complex long-term mechanisms. These consist, first, of organizational problem-solving, recurrently facing a specific, adequately stable constellation of strategic tasks and environment elements, similar within industries and systematically different across them, and, second, of various social processes, which directly transfer and influence management thinking. The paper concludes with discussing the cause mapping method and suggests some options for further studies.
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... In the methods of analyzing and evaluating the results of project implementation and the key factors affecting success, past literature studies have suggested cognitive map representations that can be used to extract and analyze personal mental models (Laukkanen, 1994). Cognitive map, also called cause map, is composed of nodes and arrows linked to each other (Weick and Bougon, 1986). ...
... Such a cognitive map of interconnected concepts and beliefs can therefore model the causal thinking pattern of individuals or organizations and is often called a mental model. Laukkanen (1994) developed a two-stage information acquisition method and analyzed the acquired data through a series of analysis and linking processes to generate the final cognitive map. Laukkanen (1994) uses cognitive maps to compare management thinking and organizational cognition in real life. ...
... Laukkanen (1994) developed a two-stage information acquisition method and analyzed the acquired data through a series of analysis and linking processes to generate the final cognitive map. Laukkanen (1994) uses cognitive maps to compare management thinking and organizational cognition in real life. Weick and Bougon (1986) link the meaning of the organization with the cognitive map to explain that the consciousness of the organization exists in the thoughts of the participants of the organization, and the existence of the organization is presented in the form of a cognitive map. ...
The National Science Foundation (NSF) proposed in 1996 “Shaping the Future” report that “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is a set of education methods that focus on learners. The STEM education actively cultivates students’ independent thinking and creativity in the learning process. In recent years, the use of STEM education methods in teaching has become a trend in Taiwan’s education system. In this study, a content analysis method is used to analyze and observe the knowledge learned and the attitude toward STEM education for a total of 30 junior students, who have no background in robotics-related professional knowledge, after taking a semester of project-based learning (PBL) robotics general course from National Chiayi University, Taiwan. From the study results, it is found that by integrating STEM into the acquisition of robotics, students can use logical thinking, compile different programs, increase their understanding of technical operations, and finally create more methods to complete the project. On the other hand, through PBL, students can stimulate thinking in discussions with their peers, and achieve the effect of problem-solving and stress-less learning. The findings of the study also show that the PBL robotics course provides the learning aids which is beneficial in exercising STEM education learned by learners.
... It has also been demonstrated that there is a relationship between managerial cognition and organizational performance, however, the research results on this are not consistent (e.g. Jenkins & Johnson, 1997;Laukkanen, 1994). ...
... As she represents traditional "heavy" industry, the company is apparently still concentrating on safety issues according to these cognitive maps produced by their three managers. Prior research indicates that managerial cognitions have an impact on planning and decision-making especially at the strategic level (Laukkanen, 1994). ...
... (Laukkanen, 1994)表 1 观察窗口期与王安石发生交互关系的人物及交互频次(N)统计表 对象 N 对象 N 对象 N 对象 N 对象 N 对象 N 宋神宗 801 王 雱 16 薛 向 11 刘 攽 7 唐 介 5 范百禄 4 王 韶 68 李 定 15 赵 卨 11 赵 抃 7 韩 维 5 沈 起 4 吕惠卿 45 章 惇 14 苏 轼 10 郑 侠 7 蔡延庆 5 唐 坰 4 文彦博 34 程 昉 14 李 常 10 李师中 7 张 琥 5 邓润甫 4 韩 绛 29 王 珪 13 邓 绾 10 刘 挚 7 范 育 5 许 将 4 曾公亮 27 富 弼 13 杨 绘 9 张利一 7 李 评 5 张商英 4 陈升之 21 吕嘉问 13 蔡 挺 9 孙 觉 6 朱明之 5 张穆之 4 吕公著 19 郭 逵 13 李承之 9 王广廉 6 蔡 确 5 高遵裕 4 冯 京 19 王安国 11 王子韶 8 吕 诲 6 冯宗道 5 张 载等 31 人 3 曾 布 19 欧阳修 11 王广渊 8 陈 襄 6 苏 辙 5 吴中复等 58 人 2 司马光 18 程 颢 11 沈 括 8 曾孝宽 6 刘 述 5 黄庆基等 181 人 1 吴 充 17 侯叔献 11 范纯仁 7 张 谔 6 徐 禧 5 韩 琦 16 吕公弼 11 王安礼 7 曾 巩 5 郑 獬 4 我们选取了《王安石年谱长编》 1 (中华书局 2018 年 刘成国版)为编码底本, 辅以 《续资治通鉴长编》 ((宋) 李焘著)、 《宋史》((元)脱脱等著)中相关史料及所研 究关键人物的传记。并以 CNKI 上收录的以"吕惠 卿"等 52 个关键人物人名为主题检索词,(12 次)、"神宗然之" (11 次)、"神宗以为然" (5 次)、 "神宗诺之" (3 次)和"神宗卒从" (4 次)共发生了 73 次。而表征宋神宗否定王安石的"神宗不从" (3 次)、 "神宗不允" (11 次)、"(批答、诏答)不允" (8 次)、"神 宗未允" (1 次)、"神宗不许" (8 次)、"神宗弗许" (2 次)和"神宗不可" (1 次)共发生了 33 次, 具体分布 见表 6。 第 2 期 (8) 吕公弼、欧阳修、杨绘、陈襄 (4) (Freeman, 1983;Martz, 2013) ...
... These distinctions need to be made clearer. One way to tackle this is to engage in methodological advancements developed in managerial and organizational cognition, such as repertory grid technique and collective cognitive mapping (Hodgkinson et al., 2017;Laukkanen, 1994;Tegarden & Sheetz, 2003) or frame analysis (Goffman, 1974). Unfortunately, only a few scholars in our review utilized these types of approaches (e.g. ...
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... Finally, subjects were asked to fill in an ex-post questionnaire on motivation, where we asked them to explain their decisions and reflect on the business and country context. We used these data by applying cognitive mapping techniques that allowed us to control for perceptions, either individually or collectively for each combination of our factorial design (Laukkanen 1994). The text of their response was used to identify a simplified scheme of constructs (Clarkson and Hodgkinson 2005). ...
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