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Abstract

Integrating the attention-based view and entrepreneurial alertness perspective, we develop our theoretical framework to test the influence of CEO attention and alertness on rate of new product introduction (NPI). We propose that a firm's rate of NPI is predicted independently and jointly by attention and alertness, two different yet complementary cognitive characteristics of the CEO. Using a sample of 271 US-based small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) from 2004 to 2015, we show that CEO's attention to R&D, customers, and competitors positively influence NPI, while attention to organization negatively impacts the relationship. We also find that CEO alertness has positive impact on the rate of NPI; however, high alertness hurts the rate of NPI. Such theoretical elaboration and empirical illustrations contribute to a better understanding of the microfoundations of managerial cognition and its role in NPI. By adding alertness from entrepreneurship literature and explicating the nexus between alertness and attention, our study explains how some CEOs who are able to acquire novel information and stay focused are able to achieve higher rate of NPI.

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... Drawing on the rich literature on coalitions (Cyert and March, 1963;Mithani and O'Brien, 2021;Stevenson et al., 1985) and corporate venturing (Ireland et al., 2009;Narayanan et al., 2009), we create a theoretical framework encompassing the parent firm, the parent firm-venture intersection, and the venture levels to delineate the factors that might jointly affect CV innovation. We build upon fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) (Fiss, 2011;Ragin, 2008), which has recently gained prominence in leading management and innovation journals (Douglas et al., 2020;Gilbert and Campbell, 2015;Kimmitt et al., 2020). ...
... As such, our findings show that the involvement of the dominant coalition can replace autonomy, thus opening the discussion for a reconceptualization of CV autonomy. Finally, we contribute to the research on coalitions in organizations (Mithani and O'Brien, 2021;Pearce, 1995;Stevenson et al., 1985) by drawing out how dominant coalitions can balance interdependence with subunits, such as CVs, by installing them as either controlled, linked, or detached coalition setups. ...
... The concept of organizations as consisting of coalitions vying for influence has been popularized by the work of Cyert and March (1963), who used the term to describe a group of individuals (temporarily) working together striving to achieve a shared goal. Since its inception, the term coalition has been adopted by several research streams (Mithani and O'Brien, 2021;Stevenson et al., 1985). For instance, resource dependence theory has built upon coalitions to investigate the allocation of resources and conflicts between subunits (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978;Schwochau et al., 1988), while upper echelon theory has focused on the organization's elite, the "dominant coalition," and its impact on organizational outcomes (Hambrick and Mason, 1984). ...
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Organizations often create new businesses, so-called corporate ventures (CVs), with the purpose of fostering innovation. However, not all venture initiatives turn out to be innovative. Prior research in particular refers to the ambivalent role of the parent firm's dominant coalition in fostering or hindering innovation in CVs. Using a configurational (fsQCA) approach, we investigate the interplay of five key conditions at the parent firm, the parent firm-venture intersection, and venture levels that potentially drive CV innovation. Building on 62 interviews from 43 corporate ventures, we identify four equifinal configurations and outline four roles that the dominant coalition plays in creating CV innovation. This study contributes to the understanding of which CV configurations drive innovation, extends the role of the dominant coalition in corporate venturing, and shows how dominant coalition involvement can replace autonomy as a driver of innovation.
... We position entrepreneurial alertness schemata (Tang et al., 2012) as a key intervening construct in transforming cross-cultural experience into intentions to pursue entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial alertness comprises three dimensions proven to be influential in recognizing or developing commercial opportunities: scanning and search, association and connection, and evaluation and judgment (Srivastava et al., 2020). Thus, we argue that breadth of cross-cultural experience-the diversity of foreign countries visited, in particular, provides individuals with the range and novelty of cognitive inputs required to enhance these entrepreneurial schemata. ...
... Entrepreneurial alertness is a set of schemata whereby some individuals possess this entrepreneurial "antenna" that enables them to identify commercial potential (Valliere, 2013). A body of literature has emerged on entrepreneurial alertness and found that it is an influential capacity among both existing and prospective entrepreneurs for developing and taking action on new ideas (e.g., Levasseur et al., 2020;Sharma, 2019;Srivastava et al., 2020). Tang et al. (2012) suggest that entrepreneurial alertness consists of three distinct yet mutually important schemas. ...
... While we find significant paths for only the scanning and search and evaluation and judgment dimensions, we are confident that entrepreneurial alertness is meaningfully influential in connecting novel experiences with proclivities to engage in entrepreneurship. Indeed, recent studies have drawn on this same conceptualization to develop alternate linguistic-based measures of alertness dimensions and found evidence for its link to related outcomes (Srivastava et al., 2020). Further, as alertness is cognitive construct grounded in processing unique combinations of stimuli for novel entrepreneurial ideation, we provide a foundation for research exploring the mediating role of conceptually similar constructs such as paradoxical mindset (Liu et al., 2019;Prashantham et al., 2018;Waldman et al., 2019) and Janusian thinking (Ko and Butler, 2006). ...
Article
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Emerging evidence suggests that there is a meaningful link between overseas experience and entrepreneurial activity. However, we find very limited inquiry at the individual-level into why cross-cultural exposure seems to enhance proclivities to engage in entrepreneurship. Drawing from Schema Theory, we argue that breadth of cross-cultural experience cultivates entrepreneurial intentions through the role of alertness—a set of schematic aptitudes for spotting commercial potential. Using a sample of lay individuals from the U.S. (N = 581) with diverse entrepreneurial and overseas experience, we find support for our model. Our findings help explain why cross-cultural experiences can be so impactful for nascent venturing. The greater the diversity of foreign cultural exposure one attains, the greater it expands scanning and search, association and connection, and evaluation and judgment schemata salient to the pursuit of new venture opportunities.
... Further, it has been suggested that the activities a founder engages in are dependent on the EP domain that is activated (Cardon et al., 2009(Cardon et al., , 2013Drnovsek, Cardon and Patel, 2016;Mueller, Wolfe and Syed, 2017). This is consistent with the attention-based literature, which suggests that founders' attention is connected with a specific object which leads them to give preference to certain activities over others (Srivastava, Sahaym and Allison, 2020). The attention-based literature has primarily focused on stimuli originating from the organizational environment (Cho and Hambrick, 2006;Kammerlander and Ganter, 2015). ...
... passion for founding) can take entrepreneurs' attention away from other activities that might be more relevant for the venture strategy. Indeed, researchers argue that the attention of key decisionmakers is bounded, and it is difficult for them to pay attention to multiple activities simultaneously (Srivastava, Sahaym and Allison, 2020). The attention given to a particular activity reduces the attention that founders can allocate to other activities (Stevens et al., 2015). 2 As founders can employ their agency to influence new venture activities (Zheng, Ahsan and DeNoble, 2020), it is likely that their EP will influence the new venture activities and outcomes. ...
Article
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In this paper, we examine the differential effects of entrepreneurial passion (EP) on product innovation intensity through the mediating mechanisms of exploration and exploitation activities. Using time-lagged data from 260 new ventures from Ghana, we examine the direct relationships between the three domains of EP (i.e., inventing, developing and founding) and a new venture’s product innovation intensity (PII). Further, we test the indirect relationships between the three domains of EP and PII through the mediating mechanisms of a new venture’s exploration and exploitation activities. The empirical results provide a fine-grained understanding of the relationship between EP, exploration and exploitation activities and PII. Implications for theory and practice are also discussed.
... Nevertheless, the underlying mechanism which leads different people to employ different strategies in deciding on entrepreneurial action still lacks exploration from a synthetic perspective, since people always make a general decision based on a series of evaluations unconsciously [19]. The underlying mechanism which is cultivated or educated would intuitively dominate the decision process [20]. ...
Article
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Given its impact on preference for different information, the cognitive schema is recognized as a critical mechanism for people to make up their minds on willingness to act. However, how entrepreneurial cognitive schema influences cognitive processes remains unclear. Based on entrepreneurial action theory and information processing theory, we delineate the relationship between entrepreneurial cognitive schema and decision of entrepreneurial action by decomposing the cognitive process of comprehending external information related to entrepreneurial opportunity. We randomized 123 participants into different priming groups and collected their decision policies with a conjoint analysis experiment. Firstly, we found the individuated cognitive process, since the positive effect of founding rates is strengthened, and dissolution rates are reduced by positive knowledge-relatedness. Further, we partly validated the moderating role of entrepreneurial cognitive schema, with a more positive relationship between founding rates and willingness to act, and between knowledge-relatedness and willingness to act when participants are primed with this future-focused schema. This paper proves one critical cognitive unit while making a decision to act on entrepreneurial opportunity and indicated an active role of entrepreneurial cognitive schema in enabling people to emphasize and make better use of relevant information.
... However, despite the above outlined good intentions in trying to "bring realistic assumptions about human cognition, emotions, and social behavior to the strategic management of organizations" (Powell et al., 2011;p. 1371), behavioral strategy research has mainly established its foundations on works investigating psychological variables on secondary data (Schumacher et al., 2020;Srivastava et al., 2020). Yet, the required consideration of the emotional side of human mind (Prietzel, 2020) which, for some scholars, is the driver of cognition and consequent behavior (Healey and Hodgkinson, 2018;, has been lacking. ...
Research Proposal
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The milestone work of Powell, Lovallo, and Fox (2011) established the boundaries of a new field of research in management and organization studies: Behavioral Strategy. This new field “merges cognitive and social psychology with strategic management theory and practice” (Powell, 2011; p. 1371). From that, the ‘behavioral revolution,’ based on bounded rationality (Simon, 1947), dominant coalitions (Cyert and March, 1963), the investigation of sociodemographic features of executives (Hambrick and Mason, 1984), and the study of executives’ deviations from rationality (i.e., cognitive biases; Kahneman et al., 2011), is finally gain momentum in strategy research (Greve 2013; Levnithal, 2011). Additionally, behavioral strategy also serves as a good interpretative lens for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (Foss, 2020). Notably, behavioral strategy is aimed at understanding: i) how the cognition of the individual scale up to collective behavior (Lovallo and Sibony, 2010; Gavetti, 2012), ii) how complex judgment in organizations is made (Garg, 2017; Augier et al., 2018), and iii) how designing organizational environments that can reduce the occurrence of biases (Echols and Neck, 1998; Cristofaro, 2017; Sibony et al., 2017). In brief, behavioral strategy deals with the “psychological origins of strategy” and try to advance them as to better exploit the antecedents of strategy – such as personality traits, mental health or disorders, beliefs, spirituality emotions, etc. (e.g., Ackers and Preston, 1997; Mendenhall, Butler, and Ehat, 2014) – and how it is ‘really’ formed in organizations. However, despite the above outlined good intentions in trying to “bring realistic assumptions about human cognition, emotions, and social behavior to the strategic management of organizations” (Powell et al., 2011; p. 1371), behavioral strategy research has mainly established its foundations on works investigating psychological variables on secondary data (Schumacher et al., 2020; Srivastava et al., 2020). Yet, the required consideration of the emotional side of human mind (Prietzel, 2020) which, for some scholars, is the driver of cognition and consequent behavior (Healey and Hodgkinson, 2018; Cristofaro; 2020), has been lacking. As such, the goal of this Special Issue is to (re-)affirm the foundations of Behavioral Strategy as conceived in its origins. In brief, research based on multi-level theories and/or multiple empirical approaches – based on primary data – that take into account the behavior of executives intertwining affective states and cognition are strongly encouraged, so that our collective efforts will advance strategy as an act of human behavior rather than an application of tools.
... After many rounds of discussions, they established an IoT strategy for the ecosystem business, starting from the mobile phone peripheral products. Such a process reflects the importance of the two distinct yet complementary cognition of the top management team in influencing a firm's strategy [72]. ...
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Establishing a hub-based innovation ecosystem is an effective way for companies to cope with technological transformation and achieve sustainable development. While existing literature has explored how a hub firm develops or manages an innovation ecosystem, little attention has been paid to the strategic challenges in the development and management process. In strategic management, managerial cognitive capability has been proposed as a key factor that influences how firms make strategic changes and adapt to dynamic environments. Hence, from the perspective of managerial cognitive capability, this paper strives to investigate the development of an innovation ecosystem from the perspective of managerial cognitive capability. To do so, we conducted a qualitative case study of Xiaomi’s innovation ecosystem from 2010 to 2019. The research adopts an interpretive approach and finds that (1) the evolution of the innovation ecosystem can be divided into incubation, growth, and regeneration periods, with developing core products, related products, and unrelated products as respective focus; (2) under rapid technological and market changes, it is critical to match the managerial cognitive capability of the hub-firm with its innovation ecosystem; (3) building innovation ecosystems enables the hub-firm to achieve sustainable competitive advantages. The study builds a model for the growth of innovation ecosystems and enriches theoretical research on innovation ecosystems and managerial cognitive capability.
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Alertness is increasingly associated with entrepreneurial opportunities. However, ambiguity in the conceptualization and operationalization of the construct have limited its potential and utility for entrepreneurship research. Given the variations in treatment of alertness, we investigate the concept as it is currently evolving in entrepreneurship scholarship. With this examination, we bring to the forefront inconsistencies and emerging trends regarding the nomological alignment and measurement of alertness. This review and synthesis of alertness research clarifies conceptual inconsistencies stemming from its Kirznerian roots and offers a framework with agenda for entrepreneurial alertness research. This agenda includes the application of entrepreneurial alertness to the opportunity creation paradigm.
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We investigate the impact of entrepreneurs' cross-cultural experience on new venture performance. Drawing on social cognitive theory, we examine how two socio-cognitive traits, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and alertness to opportunities moderate the relationship between cross-cultural experience and new venture performance. We adopt a multi-method approach. In Study 1, we implement an experiment on a sample of 177 participants enrolled in an innovation and entrepreneurship program. In Study 2, we conduct a field survey of 65 entrepreneurs with varying cross-cultural experience. Our findings suggest that cross-cultural experience has a positive effect on new venture performance, and that entrepreneurial self-efficacy and alertness to opportunities bolster this relationship. Our research contributes to entrepreneurship research in a cross-cultural context and to the growing literature regarding individual cognitions in entrepreneurship.
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Chapter
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Since its inception, entrepreneurship has struggled with the academic version of a new venture’s liability of newness; the field was considered pre-paradigmatic (Research methodology in strategy and management, New York, pp 1–32, 2005b), bereft of theory or conceptual frameworks (J Bus Ventur 19:617–620, 2004; Acad Manage Rev 26):8–11, 2001) and so lacking in understanding that investigators could not agree on what constituted the phenomenon of interest: any kind of self-employment? New venture creation? Corporate venturing? Something else? All of the above (J Bus Ventur 5:15–28, 1990; Acad Manage J 48:556–564, 2005a; Entrep Theory Pract 26:17–25, 2001, Encyclopedia of entrepreneurship, Englewood Cliffs, 1982)?
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Previous studies suggest that entrepreneurs play a key role in the success of their ventures. But relatively little is currently known about how they produce such effects. The present research provides data suggesting that two modes of entrepeneurs’ self-regulation—locomotion and assessment— enhance a firm’s success through their effects on the components of alertness. This mediational model was tested and supported with data from 120 entrepreneurs. Locomotion was positively related to the scanning and search component, while assessment was positively related to the association and evaluation components. These findings are discussed in terms of the role of founders’ self-regulation in the performance of their companies.
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Previous studies of the market value impact of announcements of joint ventures have not considered industry effects. It is suggested that the impact of such announcements varies with the information-processing load associated with analyzing events in the relevant industry. An event study analysis based on a stratified sample of 108 announcements in 3 industry groups, one with a light, one with a moderate, and one with a heavy information-processing load, confirms this hypothesis. The implications for a signaling perspective on joint venture announcements are examined.
Article
The authors developed hypotheses about the effectiveness of response rate techniques for organizational researchers surveying executives. Using meta-analytic procedures to test those hypotheses, the authors analyzed response rate data from 231 studies that surveyed executives and appeared in top management journals from 1992 to 2003. They found mean response rates to be declining over the period, yielding an overall 32% rate. Of the various methods suggested to increase response rates in other populations, none were found to be effective for executives. However, topical salience and sponsorship by an organization or person in the executive's social networks did bring about response rate increases. The authors provide recommendations about what (not) to do when trying to collectoriginal data from members of a firm's upper echelons.
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An introduction is presented to articles in this issue including "What Are Microfoundations?," "Rational and Reasonable Microfoundations of Markets and Institutions" and " Microfoundations of Management: Behavioral Strategies and Levels of Rationality in Organizational Action."
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Investigating behavioral explanations for the timing of corporate acquisitions, we focus on the effects of performance relative to aspiration level, slack, and proximity to bankruptcy. We used event history modeling to explain the hazard of acquisitions among U.S. manufacturing firms from 1980 to 2000. Results indicate acquisition activity increases as performance rises among firms performing below aspirations, but falls among firms performing above aspirations. Slack has a positive relation with acquisitions, and financial distress inhibits acquisitions. We also found support for shifts in firms' focus of attention between survival, aspirations, and slack.
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To examine the transition from a planned to a market economy in China, this study uses census data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics from 1998–2006 to investigate multi-population dynamics across the three main organizational forms in China’s domestic sector: state-owned enterprises (SOEs), collectively owned enterprises (COEs), and privately owned enterprises (POEs). We conceptualize economic transition as a community-level change from an old, dominant organizational form (SOE), through a transitional form (COE), to a new form (POE). When the new organizational form conflicts with the prevailing identity codes represented by the old form, the transitional form—which has identity overlap with both the new and old forms—performs the critical tasks of transferring legitimacy to the new form and supporting its survival and proliferation. Our analysis showed that, though the existence of state-owned enterprises increased the exit rate of privately owned enterprises, collectively owned enterprises provided legitimation for privately owned enterprises. Meanwhile, privately owned enterprises crowded out both state-owned enterprises and collectively owned enterprises. We contribute to ecology theory by extending research that typically depicts a two-population scenario. Our framework accommodates cross-effects involving three organizational forms: old, transitional, and new.
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The complexity surrounding globalization offers a unique context in which to study the moderating role of uncertainty on top management team (TMT) demographic effects. In a sample of United States-based industrial firms, TMT international experience, educational heterogeneity, and tenure heterogeneity were positively related to firms' global strategic postures, and functional heterogeneity exhibited a negative association. However, when the level of uncertainty facing TMTs was accounted for, these associations were found to be nonlinear.
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How do entrepreneurs identify opportunities for new business ventures? One possibility, suggested by research on human cognition, is that they do so by using cognitive frameworks they have acquired through experience to perceive connections between seemingly unrelated events or trends in the external world. In other words, they use cognitive frameworks they possess to "connect the dots" between changes in technology, demographics, markets, government policies, and other factors. The patterns they then perceive in these events or trends suggest ideas for new products or services-ideas that can potentially serve as the basis for new ventures. This pattern recognition perspective on opportunity identification is useful in several respects. First, it helps integrate into one basic framework three factors that have been found to play an important role in opportunity recognition: engaging in an active search for opportunities; alertness to them; and prior knowledge of an industry or market. In addition, it also helps explain interrelations between these factors (e.g., the fact that active search may not be required when alertness is very high). Second, a pattern recognition perspective helps explain why some persons, but not others, identify specific opportunities. Third, a pattern recognition framework suggests specific ways in which current or would-be entrepreneurs can be trained to be better at recognizing opportunities. Future directions for research on a pattern recognition perspective are described, and its practical implications for entrepreneurship education are examined.
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Using a multidimensional framework of CEO temporal focus (the degree to which CEOs characteristically devote attention to perceptions of the past, present, and future), we propose that a company's rate of new product introduction (NPI) is predicted by a CEO's focus on each of the three distinct time frames in interaction with environmental dynamism. Based on a longitudinal (from 1996 to 2003) analysis of 221 firms in 19 industries, we show that, in stable environments, new products are introduced faster in firms headed by CEOs with high past focus, high present focus, and low future focus. In dynamic environments, new products are introduced faster in firms headed by CEOs with low past focus, high present focus, and high future focus. These findings demonstrate how CEO temporal attentional bias shapes the rate of NPI.
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Research about transformational CEOs' impact on firm-level outcomes, particularly corporate entrepreneurship, has been equivocal, partially because the underlying mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Given that the individuals most closely influenced by a firm's CEO are its top management team (TMT) members, we focus on the CEO-TMT interface as a salient intervening mechanism. We posit that transformational CEOs influence TMTs' behavioral integration, risk propensity, decentralization of responsibilities, and long-term compensation and that these TMT characteristics impact corporate entrepreneurship. Data from 152 firms supported most of our hypothesized links, underscoring how the CEO-TMT interface helps explain transformational CEOs' role in promoting corporate entrepreneurship.
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We adopt an information acquisition and learning perspective to explore the relationship between new product development (NPD) strategy implementation duration and new venture performance. We suggest that the relationship between NPD strategy implementation duration and new venture performance is contingent on the level of environmental turbulence as reflected in an industry’s growth level and firm information-processing capabilities as reflected in the level of centralization of top management team (TMT) mental models. Longer NPD strategy implementation durations are appropriate in stable, low-growth industry environments or when firms are run by TMTs who exhibit high mental model centralization. Meanwhile, shorter NPD strategy implementation durations are called for in turbulent, high-growth industry environments or when firms are run by TMTs who exhibit low levels of mental model centralization. We also suggest that level of industry growth and TMT mental model centralization jointly influence the relationship between NPD strategy implementation duration and new venture performance and that this relationship is strongest for low-growth industries and high levels of TMT mental model centralization. Tests performed on a sample of 94 new ventures founded between 1996 and 2006 and competing in technology intensive industries confirm our hypotheses. We offer theoretical implications for research on new venture performance and on firm competitive strategy implementation.
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People frame and make sense of their worlds through the use of cognitive categories, which researchers can only indirectly access. Public corporate statements are easily accessible and comparable across companies and over time, but it is unclear to what extent such statements reflect organization members' cognitive categorizations. This study is the first to directly compare executives' public and private statements to explore whether and along what dimensions public statements reflect internal company communications. Comparisons of internal and external documents generated by the forest products industry over ten years revealed no significant correlations in the two sets of documents between executives' positive or negative evaluations of events and situations; however, the correlations between their perceptions of control were positive and significant.
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In this study, we examine the existence and performance of cognitive groups. In accordance with the attention-based view of managerial cognition, cognitive groups are defined as groups of firms in which the CEOs focus their attention on similar strategic elements when seeking to maximize their firm's competitive advantage. We developed a panel data extension of the original Data Envelopment Analysis to gauge CEOs’ focus of attention and then clustered firms into groups. We compared our approach, with other approaches that use content analysis of CEOs’ letters to shareholders and CEOs’ demographic characteristics to measure CEOs’ attention. Although the different approaches are related, indicating the existence of a common underlying construct (i.e., mental models), our approach explains a higher proportion of the variation in organizational performance.
Article
The microfoundations of dynamic capabilities have assumed greater importance in the search for factors that facilitate strategic change. Here we focus on microfoundations at the level of the individual manager. We introduce the concept of ‘managerial cognitive capability’, which highlights the fact that capabilities involve the capacity to perform not only physical but also mental activities. We identify specific types of cognitive capabilities that are likely to underpin dynamic managerial capabilities for sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring, and explain their potential impact on strategic change of organizations. In addition, we discuss how heterogeneity of these cognitive capabilities may produce heterogeneity of dynamic managerial capabilities among top executives, which may contribute to differential performance of organizations under conditions of change. Finally, we propose possible directions for future research.
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This paper studies the role of publishing and patenting activities as predictors of new product development for a sample of companies in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. The research also examines the relation between new product development and firm performance. Hypotheses are developed based on the well-established absorptive capacity literature. The results show that publishing scientific articles and stock of patents are both significant predictors of the number of new molecular entities (NMEs) for which a firm receives approval. In addition, the degree to which a firm builds on its own technology (measured as self-citations in its patents) also predicts NMEs, but the regression coefficient had an unexpected negative sign. Finally, the performance results confirm that the approval of NMEs is significantly associated with the market-to-book ratio of a firm. The managerial implications of these findings and study limitations are also discussed.
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This paper analyzes the theory of “entrepreneurial incentives” in the work of Israel Kirzner. It argues that there is a logical problem with the notion of profit opportunities as exogenous causal agents: Without additional assumptions, the existence of opportunities alone does not sufficiently explain the alertness of entrepreneurs. The paper considers both stronger and weaker versions of this problem. It also questions the relation between entrepreneurial incentives and the tendency toward entrepreneurial success. Finally, it provides some commentary on the relevance of entrepreneurial incentives for an overall theory of the entrepreneur, and identifies several potential solutions to the problems discussed.
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Organizations create high-impact inventions when they combine disparate strands of technology in their corporate research and development. We theorize that when undertaking complex inventive search characterized by high breadth, i.e., drawing on multiple diverse technology components, an organization’s propensity toward high-impact inventions depends on its stock of experience with recombining such components and on the focus of its inventive search. Building on learning transfer theory, we argue that the complexity and causal ambiguity of higher-breadth projects is such that experience with similar inventive search will be a poorer guide, comparatively reducing their inventive impact; however, this negative effect can be attenuated by the degree of focus of an organization’s contemporaneous inventive search. Using a longitudinal data set of patents from the photographic imaging industry, we find support for our predictions.
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This paper argues that a key component in a firm's strategic response to unfamiliar environmental events is the interpretations managers develop about the event itself and about key dimensions of their strategy. Using historical data from the pharmaceutical industry, the revealed interpretations of top management from six firms over a ten-year period are analyzed and are compared to the timing and content of the changes in strategy each firm undertook following a significant change in regulation. The results reveal two distinct patterns of interpretation development that appear to be linked to whether or not the target of interpretation is familiar. Further, interpretations appear to be linked both temporally and in terms of content to the strategic change undertaken by each firm. Both sets of results suggest that the interpretations of managers are linked to organizational actions.
Article
Organizational theory and research has increased attention to the determinants and consequences of attention in organizations. Attention is not, however, a unitary concept but is used differently in various metatheories: the behavioral theory of the firm, managerial cognition, issue selling, attention-based view, and ecology. At the level of the brain, neuroscientists have identified three varieties of attention: selective attention, executive attention, and vigilance. Attention is shaped by both top-down (i.e., schema-driven) and bottom-up (i.e., stimulus-driven) processes. Inspired by neuroscience research, I classify and compare three varieties of attention studied in organization science: attentional perspective (top-down), attentional engagement (combining top-down and bottom-up executive attention and vigilance), and attentional selection (the outcome of attentional processes). Based on research findings, I develop five propositions on how the varieties of attention in organization provide a theoretical alternative to theories of structural determinism or strategic choice, with a particular focus on the role of attention in explaining organizational adaptation and change.
Article
Organizational theory and research has increased attention to the determinants and consequences of attention in organizations.Attention is not, however, a unitary concept but is used differently in various metatheories: the behavioral theory of the firm, managerial cognition, issue selling, attention-based view, and ecology. At the level of the brain, neuroscientists have identified three varieties of attention: selective attention, executive attention, and vigilance. Attention is shaped by both top-down (i. e., schema-driven) and bottom-up (i. e., stimulus-driven) processes. Inspired by neuroscience research, I classify and compare three varieties of attention studied in organization science: attentional perspective (top-down), attentional engagement (combining top-down and bottom-up executive attention and vigilance), and attentional selection (the outcome of attentional processes). Based on research findings, I develop five propositions on how the varieties of attention in organization provide a theoretical alternative to theories of structural determinism or strategic choice, with a particular focus on the role of attention in explaining organizational adaptation and change.