Cognition & Capabilities: A Multi-Level Perspective

Academy of Management Annals, Forthcoming

Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2218390

Posted: 16 Feb 2013

See all articles by J. P. Eggers

J. P. Eggers

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Sarah Kaplan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Research on managerial cognition and on organizational capabilities has essentially developed in two parallel tracks. We know much from the resource-based view about the relationship between capabilities and organizational performance. Separately, managerial cognition scholars have shown how interpretations of the environment shape organizational responses. Only recently have scholars begun to link the two sets of insights. These new links suggest that routines and capabilities are based in particular understandings about how things should be done, that the value of these capabilities is subject to interpretation, and that even the presence of capabilities may be useless without managerial interpretations of their match to the environment. This review organizes these emerging insights in a multi-level cognitive model of capability development and deployment. The model focuses on the recursive processes of constructing routines (capability building blocks), assembling routines into capabilities, and matching capabilities to perceived opportunities. To date, scholars have focused most attention on the organizational-level process of matching. Emerging research on the microfoundations of routines contributes to the micro-level of analysis. The lack of research on capability assembly leaves the field without a bridge connecting the macro and micro levels. The model offers suggestions for research directions to address these challenges.

Keywords: cognition, capabilities, routines, dynamic managerial capabilities, exaptation, interpretation, organizational change, assembly of capabilities

JEL Classification: L2

Suggested Citation

Eggers, J. P. and Kaplan, Sarah, Cognition & Capabilities: A Multi-Level Perspective (2013). Academy of Management Annals, Forthcoming , Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2218390, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2218390

J. P. Eggers (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Sarah Kaplan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

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