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Book part
Publication date: 23 December 2005

William Ocasio and John Joseph

Macro- and microorganizational perspectives on strategy processes are typically treated as distinct lines of inquiry. This paper proposes an attention-based theory (March

Abstract

Macro- and microorganizational perspectives on strategy processes are typically treated as distinct lines of inquiry. This paper proposes an attention-based theory (March & Olsen, 1976; Ocasio, 1997) of strategy formulation processes to bridge both perspectives. In particular, it links evolutionary perspectives on strategy (Burgelman, 1991, 2002) and strategic choice (Child, 1972) perspectives on organizational and strategic decision making (Bower, 1970; Carter, 1971; Cyert & March, 1963; Frederickson, 1986). Our treatment of the strategy process extends theory by viewing strategy processes as assemblages of tightly and loosely coupled networks of operational and governance channels (Allison & Zelikow, 1999; Ocasio, 1997), strategy formulation as a fluid and distributed process, and environmental, organizational level and individual level forces as consequential. Like Lovas and Ghoshal (2000), we view strategy formulation as a process of guided evolution. Unlike Lovas and Ghoshal who view strategic intent as the objective function that guides evolution, we view strategy formulation processes as more fragmented and contested, with multiple foci of attention, rather than an explicit objective function, and both top-down and bottoms-up processes capable of generating changes in the strategic direction of the firm.

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Strategy Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-340-2

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Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2012

William Ocasio

This chapter first examines the role of attention in the garbage can model of decision making and compares it both to prior approaches in the Carnegie School tradition and…

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This chapter first examines the role of attention in the garbage can model of decision making and compares it both to prior approaches in the Carnegie School tradition and the attention-based view of the firm. Both the garbage can model and the attention-based view rely on the same assumption, one that is rarely recognized nor understood – that organizational decision making is characterized by situated attention, where organizational participants vary across time and place in what they attend to. In the garbage can model, decision opportunities are the temporal contexts for situated attention; in the attention-based view, attention is situated in both time and place within the organization's communication channels. In the garbage can, situated attention is also shaped by the ecology of problems and opportunities competing for attention. The final part examines the determinants and consequences of tight versus loose coupling of channels in organizations and its effects on participants’ situated attention. Attention structures external to channels and the architecture of channel structures shape the degree of coupling found in organizations. In viewing coupling as a variable, the chapter suggests that a modified garbage can model, combined with an increased focus on situated attention, provides the foundations for a more general theory of nonroutine decision making.

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The Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice: Looking Forward at Forty
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-713-0

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2016

Mary Ann Glynn, Thomas B. Lawrence, Renate E. Meyer, William Ocasio, M. Paola Ometto and Jean-François Soublière

The closing plenary of the 2015 Alberta Institutions Conference offered an opportunity to reflect on the current status of the institutional perspective and the direction…

Abstract

The closing plenary of the 2015 Alberta Institutions Conference offered an opportunity to reflect on the current status of the institutional perspective and the direction it may take in the future. Our four panelists, Mary Ann Glynn, Tom Lawrence, Renate Meyer, and William Ocasio, reflected on how institutionalists can matter. In a first conversation, Renate and William discussed how institutionalists can matter to different audiences, and whether or not the desire to matter should drive research. In a second conversation, Tom proposed problem-driven research as a means of developing relevant theoretical insights. In a third and final conversation, Mary Ann encouraged us to reconsider the role of institutions and culture in shaping the collective rationality of actors and to reveal what matters in everyday occurrences.

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2015

Mark J. Zbaracki and Mark Bergen

We return to the problem that motivated the original behavioral theory of the firm, price adjustment, but from the standpoint of post-Carnegie School perspectives on…

Abstract

We return to the problem that motivated the original behavioral theory of the firm, price adjustment, but from the standpoint of post-Carnegie School perspectives on cognition, attention, and routines. Whereas work in the Carnegie School tradition has tended to develop models of firms in opposition to economic theory, we seek to understand how economic ideas are used to shape decision processes. Using a combination of interview, observational, and archival data gathered at a large manufacturing firm that produced parts to maintain machinery, we develop a behaviorally plausible story of how organizations shape price adjustment. We follow three successive waves of managers seeking to improve the pricing routines through shifting attentional perspective, managing attentional engagement, and structuring attentional execution. We demonstrate how managers redesign routines to shape cognition and attention, thereby developing greater coherence in the market representations of the sales force. Our findings show how reshaping cognition and attention in pricing routines can improve organizational intelligence in pricing decisions. Economists treat markets as the ideal – the best that can be imagined – and organizations as second-best options – the best that can be achieved, but our findings invert the story, suggesting that in modern market economies, organizations and routines are essential to making the price system work.

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Cognition and Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-946-2

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Marja Turunen

The most widely used conceptualizations of organizing assume that organizational issues are known, and consequently, organizing targets on control and management…

Abstract

The most widely used conceptualizations of organizing assume that organizational issues are known, and consequently, organizing targets on control and management. Traditional organizing focuses on planning for the known future with a small group of experts and for the most part neglects the experiential ambiguities of organizational stakeholders. That research stream neglects a topic of consciousness and if studied, it approaches consciousness mostly as an object. This chapter assumes that ambiguity holds many resources, which a storytelling approach – the quantum stream of it – accommodates. Furthermore, it indicates that consciousness can be included in the organization equation. It suggests understanding consciousness as an everyday process in organizations rather than a brain function only, and lets us to take consciousness seriously. This chapter draws on my dissertation about consciousness-based view of organizing. It claims that everyone working in organizations influences of the consciousness fields, which then become actors taking care of us in organizations unless we become aware of them. Consciousness provides momentous information for those interested in strategic leaps, accelerated innovations, and fosters sustainable and ethical ways of working and organizing.

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The Emerald Handbook of Quantum Storytelling Consulting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-671-0

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Vanessa Pouthier, Christopher W.J. Steele and William Ocasio

Institutional logics and collective identities are closely intertwined: logics shape the emergence and evolution of identities, which in turn play a crucial role in…

Abstract

Institutional logics and collective identities are closely intertwined: logics shape the emergence and evolution of identities, which in turn play a crucial role in mediating the influence of the logics themselves. Though there exists a significant body of research on the intersection of the two phenomena, relatively little attention has been given to changes in the strength, content, and permanence of particular logic–identity associations. In this paper we explore empirically the question of whether and how a logic and identity may become severed, through an inductive case study of the development of the hospitalist identity in health care in the United States. Based on this study, we propose a set of mechanisms through which the distancing of a logic and an identity may occur. We also discuss potential counterfactual outcomes, in order to build theory regarding the longitudinal relationship between logics and identities.

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Institutional Logics in Action, Part A
Type: Book
ISBN:

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Brian Uzzi

Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on…

Abstract

Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on the topic remain disintegrated and because both lack a sophisticated account of how social structure and interdependencies among organizations affect decline. This paper develops a perspective which tries to overcome these problems. The perspective explains decline through an understanding of how social ties and resource dependencies among firms affect market structure and the resulting behavior of firms within it. Evidence is furnished that supports the assumptions of the perspective and provides a basis for specifying propositions about the effect of network structure on organizational survival. I conclude by discussing the perspective’s implications for organizational theory and economic sociology.

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Collaboration and Competition in Business Ecosystems
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-826-6

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Book part
Publication date: 19 August 2015

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Cognition and Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-946-2

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Renate E. Meyer, Dennis Jancsary and Markus A. Höllerer

We review and discuss theoretical approaches from both within and outside of institutional organization theory with regard to their specific insights on what we call…

Abstract

We review and discuss theoretical approaches from both within and outside of institutional organization theory with regard to their specific insights on what we call “regionalized zones of meaning” – that is, clusters of social meaning that can be distinguished from one another, but at the same time interact and, in specific configurations, form distinct societies. We suggest that bringing meaning structures back into focus is important and may counter-balance the increasing preoccupation of institutional scholars with micro-foundations and the related emphasis on micro-level activities. We bring together central ideas from research on institutional logics with some foundational insights by Max Weber, Alfred Schütz, and German sociologists Rainer Lepsius and Karl-Siegbert Rehberg. In doing so, we also take a cautious look at “practices” by discussing their potential place and role in an institutional framework as well as by exploring generative conversations with proponents of practice theory. We wish to provide inspiration for institutional research interested in shared meaning structures, their relationships to one another, and how they translate into institutional orders.

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On Practice and Institution: Theorizing the Interface
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-413-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1997

Brian Uzzi

Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on…

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Abstract

Analysis of organizational decline has become central to the study of economy and society. Further advances in this area may fail however, because two major literatures on the topic remain disintegrated and because both lack a sophisticated account of how social structure and interdependencies among organizations affect decline. This paper develops a perspective which tries to overcome these problems. The perspective explains decline through an understanding of how social ties and resource dependencies among firms affect market structure and the resulting behavior of firms within it. Evidence is furnished that supports the assumptions of the perspective and provides a basis for specifying propositions about the effect of network structure on organizational survival. I conclude by discussing the perspective's implications for organizational theory and economic sociology.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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