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Hierarchical Sensing and Strategic Decision-Making

Behavioral Strategy in Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-78756-348-3, eISBN: 978-1-78756-347-6

Publication date: 21 September 2018


There are many cases where top management either missed or almost missed detecting or interpreting a major change in the environment that might have led them to a major setback. We propose a model of sensing in hierarchical organizations that describes a sequence of sensing and detecting changes in the environment, followed by successive stages of perception, interpretation, and finally action. We model an organization as a complex signal detection system, where the flow of information among members of the organization is constrained by two elements: the structure of the organization, which is defined by who reports to whom, and the attentional and cognitive limitations of the individuals. We infer the probability of sensing over time for different levels of environmental shocks and different organizational structures. By focusing on the (un)reliability of sensing and the information flow in different organizational structures, we are able to provide preliminary analysis of the trade-offs among cognitive limitations, speed of detection, modes of information flow, and the resulting performance measure of delay, false-alarms, and true detections.



Green, E. and Shapira, Z. (2018), "Hierarchical Sensing and Strategic Decision-Making", Behavioral Strategy in Perspective (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 123-138.



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