Conditions for individual differences in the justification of collective decision: top management interpretations based on their cognitive representations

Matheus Maia Diniz, André Magalhães Gomes, Raoni Barros Bagno, Jonathan Simões Freitas


Objective of the study: To investigate the differences in the justifications offered by members of senior management for a diversification decision taken by them together.

Methodology / approach: The research is configured as an inductive study from an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of an observation unit, focused on the extraction and analysis of aspects of managers' mental models, inserted in the tradition of ideographic causal mapping. The main technique for data collection was the conduction of in-depth semi-structured interviews.

Originality / Relevance: This work shows evidence that complements those traditionally presented by the quantitative methodologies that prevail in the study of strategic cognition.

Main Results: The results highlight that the professional profile of each manager, especially in terms of his career, is particularly relevant both in the interpretation of his own rationalizations and in that of the others. Making it clear how the functions that each interviewee occupies in the company show an attempt by each manager to justify diversification from the point of view of their own attributions, indicating that the individual rationalization is already done in relation to the emphases expected in the rationalizations of the other members of the organization. team.

Theoretical / methodological contributions: It contributed to the understanding of the rationalization of decision-making, by showing the perceptions of each of the managers about a collective decision made in the past and by providing an interpretation of the possible conditions of the individual differences.


Cognition; Rationalization; Decision; Cognitive map; Senior management.


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