“An Attention Perspective on How Managers Deal with Multiple Goals,” Daniella Laureiro-Martinez, ETH Zurich
COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE WORKSHOP
Abstract: Organizations need to pursue multiple goals often simultaneously, and when they are in conflict, decision-makers struggle to make good choices (Ethiraj & Levinthal, 2009). In such complex and uncertain situations, the decision maker’s attention can be pivotal. In fact, decades ago, Cyert and March (1963) put forth sequential attention as a mechanism to aid the pursuit of divergent goals. However, their underlying assumption of a goal hierarchy limits the theory application to situations where goals have a clear, predetermined order, which rarely is the case in today’s complex organizations (Gaba & Greve 2019). Although the extant literature on attention has greatly emphasized attention’s importance for firm performance and its scarcity as a cognitive resource, a theoretical and empirical investigation of how concurrent attention can influence the successful attainment of multiple goals is still in its early stages. Hence, our research aims to understand the process of multiple goal pursuit and how attention can modulate the outcome.
Based on qualitative evidence of four organization’s new product development processes, we design an experiment that uses a problem-solving framework in which attention is directed to different goals at different times. Specifically, in the study that we present, we look at when multiple and conflicting goals should be attended in order to enhance their successful attainment. In this presentation, we will discuss the experimental design, preliminary findings, and future steps.
Daniella Laureiro-Martinez is a professor in the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics at ETH Zurich (CH) where she is the director of the COLAB, a research group that studies the cognitive antecedents of adaptive behavior in environments that change. They rely on theories and findings from neurosciences and psychology, innovation and strategy, to understand decision-making, creative problem solving, and ultimately learning.
Daniella’s work has been published in journals like the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Journal of Management Studies, the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics and in the open-source Nature journals Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and Frontiers in Psychology. She currently serves in the Editorial Review Board of the Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science.
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This workshop is cosponsored by the Center for the Study of American Politics (CSAP) and the Yale School of Management (SOM) with support from the Initiative for Leadership and Organization at SOM