Two Cheers for Diversity: An Experimental Study of Micro-Level Heterogeneity in Problemistic Search

Aneesh Banerjee, Joseph Lampel, Ajay Bhalla

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Abstract

In this article, we argue for an expanded view of problemistic search. Recent behavioral theory research suggests that individual search preferences influence problemistic search. We draw on this to challenge the view of problemistic search as a centrally directed organizational process that proceeds sequentially from local to distant search. We argue that search activities in organizations are heterogeneous—some individuals will first engage in local search while others may move directly to distant search. We propose that problemistic search at the macro-organizational level is therefore the result of a mix of local and distant search activities at the micro-level that shifts toward distant search in response to negative performance evaluation. We test this idea in a laboratory experiment using a repetitive task and performance feedback.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Organization
Early online date5 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Performance reference points, problemistic search, lab experiment, behavioral theory

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