Organizations create their environments by constructing interpretations and then acting on them as if they were true. This study examines the cognitive spatial boundaries that managers of Manhattan hotels impose on their competitive environment. We derive and estimate a model that specifies how the attributes of managers’ own hotels and potential rival hotels influence their categorization of competing and non-competing hotels. We show that similarity in geographic location, price, and size are central to managers’ beliefs about the identity of their competitors, but that the weights they assign to these dimensions when categorizing competitors diverge from their influence on competitive outcomes, and indicate an overemphasis on geographic proximity. Although such categorization is commonly conceived as a rational process based on the assessment of similarities and differences, we suggest that significant distortions can occur in the categorization process and examine empirically how factors including managers’ attribution errors, cognitive limitations, and (in)experience lead them to make type I and type II competitor categorization errors and to frame competitive environments that are incomplete, erroneous, or even superstitious. Our findings suggest that understanding inter-firm competition may require greater attention being given to the cognitive foundations of competition.
Baum, J.A.C. and Lant, T.K. (2003), "HITS AND MISSES: MANAGERS’ (MIS)CATEGORIZATION OF COMPETITORS IN THE MANHATTAN HOTEL INDUSTRY", Baum, J.A.C. and Sorenson, O. (Ed.) Geography and Strategy (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 119-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-3322(03)20004-8Download as .RIS
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