Absence-Neglect and the Origins of Great Strategies

Powell, Thomas C (2017) Absence-Neglect and the Origins of Great Strategies. Strategy Science. (Accepted)

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Abstract

Great business strategies originate in a top management worldview that seeks to implement bold strategic change in the external world. This worldview generates confident strategic actions capable of producing extreme success. However it also generates catastrophic failures and lower returns on average. This is because action-oriented managers pay abnormal attention to the observables of sense experience while neglecting the world of absence, a bias I refer to as absence-neglect. Absence-neglect is the cognitive tendency to notice presence more than absence; for example, movement more than stillness and noise more than silence. The paper examines the origins of absence-neglect and its consequences for strategy formation, firm performance and social welfare. I argue that societies can reduce the economic and moral risks of “great” strategies by cultivating more balanced discernment of presence and absence.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Managerial and organizational cognition, decision making, strategy formulation
Subject(s): Strategy
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 10:50
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2017 10:58
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/6613

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