Collective sensing as a source of dynamic managerial capability

Tue, 30 May 2017 09:40:00 BST

The Business School's Strategy and International Business Research Group (SIB) heard Dr Maha Alshaghroud from University of Huddersfield present her research on "Collective sensing as a source of dynamic managerial capability: A situated cognition approach to identifying superior acquisition opportunities".

Maha joined the University of Huddersfield in July 2014 as a Lecturer in Strategic Management. Prior to that, she was awarded  a PhD by Leeds University Business School in 2013 which was focused primarily on understanding how firms develop and sustain ‘dynamic capabilities’. Maha’s research interests identify and elaborate the sources of dynamic managerial capabilities in the context of strategic acquisitions during the early stages of decision making; namely ‘sensing’.

Maha says: “This paper addresses a core but neglected question in corporate strategy of how usually high-yielding (“superior”) acquisition opportunities may be identified. Drawing on a situated cognition perspective of managerial action, we articulate a process in which the top management team (“TMT”) of a UK plastics manufacturer collectively engaged in “purposive improvisation” (Maclean, MacIntosh, Seidl, 2015) to identify superior acquisition opportunities that were “cognitively distant” (Gavetti, 2012) to the firm. This process, which we call “collective sensing”, is presented within a socially situated space of informal “get-togethers” in the acquiring firm wherein reactions to personal ideas for acquisitions that were unknown to the firm were aired and shared among top managers. In get-togethers we suggest how the organisational roles of managers were temporarily put aside in favour of emergent social roles, while enacting these roles also enabled managers to avoid the organisational constraints of their employers. Several propositions are advanced on the nature and utility of collective sensing as a key, initiating stage in corporate strategic management”. 

Professor John Anchor, Professor of International Strategy, says  “dynamic capabilities have been one of the most well used conceptualisations in the strategy literature during the last fifteen years. Therefore it is excellent that Maha has been able to combine it with the concept of collective sensing. I wish Maha every success with her continuing research in this area”.

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