Session 362

Search for Better Strategies

Track P

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Time: 08:00 – 09:15


Room: Roma 2

Session Chair:

  • Zur Shapira, New York University

Title: A Comprehensive Theory of Behavioral Search: The Role of Industry and Firm Specific Characteristics


  • Hossein Mahdavi Mazdeh, University of Calgary
  • Jim Dewald, University of Calgary

Abstract: Behavioral theory of the firm has been popularly applied to explain innovation and organizational search. We propose that while behavioral theory lays a foundations for the study of firm search, the full extent of theory’s insights are not yet explored and search has been often reduced to specific searches such as R&D without enough theoretical justification. We develop and empirically test a comprehensive model, specifically focusing on the linkage of search activities to different contexts and situations (i.e. industry and firm characteristics). Using prior research, we show why problemistic search can lead to specific investments in R&D, operations, or acquisitions, depending on the context. We contribute to the literature by providing a comprehensive model, and elucidating a more granular linkage between stimulus, search, and action.

Title: Futures Prices and Behavioral Search in the North American Energy Industry


  • Ayesha Malhotra, University of Calgary
  • Hossein Mahdavi Mazdeh, University of Calgary

Abstract: In this study, we look at forward-oriented behavioral search in the context of the North American oil and gas (O&G) industry. We investigate the effect of futures prices on O&G firms’ R&D search behavior. Consistent with Chen (2008), we show that backward search increases with the distance of past performance below a firm’s aspiration level. Also, firms whose performance exceeds their aspiration level reduce their search, consistent with behavioral theory arguments. We also show that: (a) when the future performance gap is expected to be positive, firms will attend to their past performance gaps and increase R&D search; and (b) when the future performance gap is expected to be negative, firms will reduce their attention to exploratory search as a solution for past performance gaps.

Title: Horizontal Informal Knowledge Sharing and the Effects of Exploration and Exploitation on Organizational Performance


  • Ji-hyun Kim, Yonsei University
  • Zur Shapira, New York University

Abstract: Previous research has shown that knowledge sharing within an organization is important to the effects of exploration and exploitation on organizational performance. In this paper, using a computational approach, we examine one of the less studied relationships: the influence of horizontal informal knowledge sharing on the implications of exploration and exploitation on organizational performance. In particular, among various facets of horizontal informal knowledge sharing, we focus on the case where individuals exhibit preferences for homogeneity in gaining knowledge from others. By showing that exploration can hurt organizational performance under individual preferences for homogeneity, we identify a new mechanism by which too much exploration can backfire in addition to those previously suggested.

Title: Revisiting Adaptation on Rugged Landscapes: Role of Experiential Search and Imitation


  • Aleksandra Rebeka, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Rajat Khanna, Tulane University

Abstract: Research in strategy has argued that organizational diversity is determined by the ruggedness of the fitness landscape. The more rugged the landscape is, the larger is the set of dominant forms that emerges due to organizational adaptation and selection. However, we argue that relationship between organizational diversity and structure of the fitness landscape is not universal but depends on the nature of organizational adaptation. By introducing experiential search and imitation, we are able to support our argument. We show that these processes substantially change the dynamics. Imitation diminishes the differences in organizational diversity across landscapes with varying degree of interdependency. Moreover, imitation and experiential search together lead to faster rate of decrease in organizational diversity in more rugged landscapes, a finding contrary to previous research.

All Sessions in Track P...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 459: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy I
Sun: 09:30 – 10:45
Session 460: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy II
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 461: Theoretical Foundations of Behavioral Strategy III
Sun: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 360: Heuristics and Biases in Strategy Choices
Session 363: Social Influence & Comparisons
Sun: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 612: Behavioral Strategy IG Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 354: Goals and Aspirations
Mon: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 352: CEO Decision Making
Mon: 14:45 – 16:00
Session 265: Learning, Search, Slack: The behavioral theory revisited
Session 353: Behavioral Foundations of Mergers & Acquisitions
Mon: 16:30 – 17:45
Session 359: Cognition Under Uncertainty & Risk Taking
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 358: Cognitive Processes in Strategy
Session 362: Search for Better Strategies
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 361: Creativity and Innovation
Tue: 15:30 – 16:45
Session 355: Behavioral Elements of Institutional Theory
Session 453: Competitive Dynamics
Tue: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 356: Affective and Cognitive Processes in Strategy
Session 357: Learning Processes

Strategic Management Society