Edited by Giovanni Battista Dagnino
Chapter 7: The Mind of the Strategist and the Eye of the Beholder: The Socio-cognitive Perspective in Strategy Research
Violina P. Rindova, Rhonda K. Reger and Elena Dalpiaz INTRODUCTION This chapter provides an overview of strategy research that concerns itself with the effects of socio-cognitive processes and structures on the strategic behavior of firms and on the environments in which firms operate. Our overview highlights how the socio-cognitive perspective contributes to the central question of theoretical interest in strategy research: how do firms make strategic choices and how do these choices affect their performance? We show how socio-cognitive researchers address this central question by reviewing two main streams of works: the work on the decision-making processes and cognitive structures of managers (Starbuck and Milliken, 1988; Thomas et al., 1993; Gioia and Chittipeddi, 1991; Porac and Thomas, 1990; Porac et al., 1989; Reger and Huff, 1993) and the work on the processes of collective sensemaking by stakeholders and various organizational observers in markets and organizational fields (Rindova and Fombrun, 1999; Hargadon and Douglas, 2001; Hoffman and Ocasio, 2001; Rindova et al., 2004; Rindova et al., 2005). We refer to the first stream of work as studying the mind of the strategist and to the second as studying the eye of the beholder. We discuss the accomplishments in each stream of strategic sociocognitive research and the contributions that they have made to specific areas of strategy research. In particular, we highlight that a) the research on managerial cognitive processes has contributed to the development of a more fine-grained understanding of strategic change and organizational adaptation; b) the research on managerial cognitive...
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