New book: Cognition and Business Models

What are business models, viewed from a cognitive perspective? How are they formed, shared, and innovated? How do we “measure” them? And what are open research questions at the intersection of the study of managerial and organizational cognition, business models, and business model innovation. I have gathered some of my reflections on these topics into a short book – a sort of primer – that I hope can be useful to scholars new to this area. Out now with Palgrave:

Cognitive Aids in Strategy

In our new edited book in the New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition series (Emerald), we reflect on cognitive aids and their role in strategy work. Strategy research and practice abounds with frameworks, models, tools, and processes, meant to describe and guide the strategy work of managers. These are all examples of cognitive aids. These aids guide and support managerial cognition, the way managers make sense of the world. What we collectively call the cognitive aids of strategy have a profound impact
on the way managers learn about, conceptualize, share, and enact strategy work and strategies in their organizations. In this chapter, we provide a definition of cognitive aids in strategy and begin exploring the landscape of cognitive theories that can explain why something might be a cognitive aid. We then briefly outline the contributions to the edited volume “Cognitive Aids in Strategy,” and end with an invitation to expand your exploration beyond.

Do we even understand “sustainability”?

One thing I note in the currect debate on sustainability and responsibility, is that people seem to have very different personal defitions of what these things mean. So what are the circumstances and consequences of differences in the perception of definition and measurement of “sustainability” and “CSR” between internal and external stakeholders? In this short essay I discuss this question and propose four possible circumstances that firms (and indeed researchers) could face when dealing with CSR and sustainability measurement.

Uncertainty in Strategy Research

Photo: Thomas Leuthard

With Anne Huff and Robert Galavan I have written a paper outlining research on environmental uncertainty in strategy research. “Strategic decision-making invariably involves making inferences about the future, a future that cannot be fully known. While all decisions carry risk, uncertainty arises from the inability to assign probability estimates to future events and is thus a key concept within strategy. Yet, strategy scholars sometimes use the concept of uncertainty in ways that obscure, rather than clarify, what they mean. Indeed, constructs such as risk, uncertainty, volatility, complexity, ambiguity, and dynamism are often used interchangeably and without clarification of concept. In this article, we aim to provide the reader with a clarifying overview of the classical work on uncertainty in strategy research and give examples of the more recent evolution of the concept. A particular emphasis is on the relationship between uncertainty and complementary constructs. We illustrate some of the strategy perspectives that surround both objective and subjective uncertainty and end our overview by commenting on new sources of uncertainty.”

Are you sure your industry is hypercompetitive?

Together with my former PhD student Annesofie Lindskov, I wrote a short paper for the Journal of Business Models looking at the business model innovation consequences of managerial misperceptions of the level of competitive dynamics. In other words, what happens to business model innovation efforts if managers over- or under-estimate competition? Read it here:

Call for Chapters – Cognitive Aids in Strategy

Deadline June 1st 2022 We are looking to put together the 6th volume of the New Horizons in Managerial and Organizational Cognition series (Emerald), to comprise an interdisciplinary collection of contributions that reflect on the theoretical grounding of the use of physical, conceptual, and digital cognitive aids for managerial cognition and strategic decision-making. Strategy work is not only based on language but also on cognitive aids that enable sensemaking and sense-giving between individuals and teams, within and between organizations, and for communication to external audiences. Cognitive aids thus focus attention, trigger curiosity, enable individuals to understand, and express themselves, in complementary or other ways than verbal. We want to encourage papers exploring new horizons of socio-cognitive and socio-psychological research as it relates to cognitive aids, artefacts, and tools.

Framing Industry Change

Back in the 1990s I studied economics at the University of Lausanne (HEC Lausanne), and one of my fellow students was José Anson. We both later received our doctorates at HEC, and he went on to be the chief economist of the United Nations Universal Postal Union. I went on to pursue an academic career. Now, many years later, we have published a joint paper in which we study how industry change was framed in the postal sector in the aftermath of the financial crisis. What a pleasure to collaborate with old friends.

Newly published case on sustainability as strategy – Comwell Hotels

How can you build a competitive strategy around sustainability as a differentiator? In this recently published case I study this based on the Comwell Hotel Group case, together with Rasmus Rasmussen, award-winning chef and one of the driving forces behind the sustainability strategy of the hotel group. Download it here, or look at the published version here:

Call for Essays: Measuring Sustainability and CSR

The measurement and reporting of sustainability and CSR-related indicators is only growing in importance. Yet, as a few scholars have pointed out recently there are important issues with such measurements. We are commencing work on a book on this important topic. The book will be published in 2022 by Springer, as part of the Ethical Economy book series. The book’s tentative title is “Measuring Sustainability and CSR: From reporting to decision-making”, and would situate the book as an interdisciplinary collection of informed essays about the topic. Rather than full-blown academic papers, we are open to more conceptual, reflective, or even normative short essays that will help the reader understand the issues and challenges at hand, and maybe even point towards possible solutions. Here is the call for proposals: