Adaptive Aspirations and Performance Heterogeneity: Attention Allocation Among Multiple Reference Points

Blettner, D., He, Z., Hu, S., & Bettis, R. 2015. Adaptive Aspirations and Performance Heterogeneity: Attention Allocation among Multiple Reference Points. Strategic Management Journal, 36(7): 987-1005.

41 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017

See all articles by Daniela P. Blettner

Daniela P. Blettner

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Zi-Lin He

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management

Songcui Hu

University of Arizona - Department of Management and Organizations

Richard Bettis

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Organizations learn and adapt their aspiration levels based on reference points (prior aspiration, prior performance, and prior performance of reference groups). The relative attention that organizations allocate to these reference points impacts organizational search and strategic decisions. However, very little research has explored this. Therefore, we build a recursive feedback model of learning from organizational experience that explains heterogeneity of attention allocation to the reference points in adaptive aspirations. In a sample of the German magazine industry (1972–2010) we find when early in their life cycle and as they or their parent company age, organizations tend to focus more on their own aspirations; however, when at the verge of bankruptcy, they increase their attention to competitors’ performance.

Keywords: aspiration adaptation, attention allocation, experience, feedback loops, learning

Suggested Citation

Blettner, Daniela P. and He, Zi-Lin and Hu, Songcui and Bettis, Richard, Adaptive Aspirations and Performance Heterogeneity: Attention Allocation Among Multiple Reference Points (2014). Blettner, D., He, Z., Hu, S., & Bettis, R. 2015. Adaptive Aspirations and Performance Heterogeneity: Attention Allocation among Multiple Reference Points. Strategic Management Journal, 36(7): 987-1005., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3072544

Daniela P. Blettner

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A1S6
Canada

Zi-Lin He

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Songcui Hu (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Management and Organizations ( email )

405 McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Richard Bettis

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

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