Session 191

The Role of Managers in Adapting to Uncertain Conditions

Track A

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Time: 11:30 – 12:45


Room: Meeting Room 13

Session Chair:
Bertrand Quelin, HEC-Paris

Title: The Impact of CEO Narcissism on Incumbent Inertia and Discontinuous Change


  • Wolf-Christian Gerstner, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Albrecht Enders, IMD
  • Andreas König, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Abstract: How do the personality traits of CEOs influence organizational inertia in response to discontinuous technologies? We integrate recent literature from the fields of upper echelons theory, organizational adaptation research and cognitive psychology to develop a model linking CEO narcissism and three dimensions of incumbent inertia: temporal rigidity, resource rigidity and routine rigidity. We posit that organizations led by narcissistic CEOs are more likely to adapt successfully to discontinuous change because such organizations will enter new markets more quickly, with more resources and with more flexible routines than organizations managed by non-narcissistic CEOs. We also submit that the extent of the CEOs’ knowledge of the discontinuous technology has a moderating influence on the effects of CEO narcissism.

Title: The Public is Fine With Us: Idealized Value Mergers in Top Management


  • Timo Meynhardt, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

Abstract: How do top-managers cognize on their organizations’ role in the societal environment? As of today, we lack sufficient psychometric data about such perceived impact on society. In this paper, data from top managers from 40 organizations (half private, half public) are presented. In our empirical study we applied a version of the Kelly-Grid to elicit managerial cognitions. The richness of constructs points to a broad awareness of distinct impacts on society. The study also shows that subjects tend to assume that “the wider public” does not differentiate between distinct value dimensions and is basically “in line” with the top management views - unless the organization is confronted with concrete public critique. This phenomenon of “idealized value merger” is interpreted from different theoretical viewpoints.

Title: Organizational and Individual Levels: Disentangling Their Impact on Performance and Competitive Outcomes


  • Bertrand Quelin, HEC-Paris
  • Deborah Philippe, HEC-Lausanne

Abstract: This paper explores the determinants of performance in Formula 1 racing at the individual and organizational levels of analysis. The purpose is to gain an understanding of the relative importance of factors that contribute to the competitive outcomes. Based on data of the period 1998-2008, we develop some propositions specifying the forces acting on performance. The resulting framework leads to a set of predictions about relationships between regulation, teaming, partnering, managerial capabilities and the emergence of learning. Specifically, we argue that when the regulation is becoming more restrictive on technological innovations, the individual factors higher impacts the overall performance. Moreover, we show that stability of teams leads to an increase of the performance level. We suggest that the forces acting on outcomes are self-enforcing.

Title: Uncertainty, Path Recognition and Complexity Matching


  • Zhi Wang, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Stuart Horsburgh, Manchester Metropolitan University

Abstract: Theories of global brain functioning provide a framework for the analysis of how activity systems evolve in uncertain environments. We summarize two fundamental features of neural functioning: the adaptive classifier system and re-entrant mapping and indicate their usefulness by explaining the link between managerial behavior and the emergence of complex clusters in the aircraft industry. Our preliminary findings provide some support for the idea that in uncertain environments, adaptive matching is related to experience and exposure to complexity.

All Sessions in Track A...

Mon: 12:45 – 14:00
Session 188: Market Pressure, Social Responsibility and Firm Performance
Mon: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 187: Market Conditions and Firm Internationalization
Mon: 17:15 – 18:30
Session 189: Risk Management in Uncertain Environments
Tue: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 190: Building up Firm Capabilities for Unstable Environments
Tue: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 191: The Role of Managers in Adapting to Uncertain Conditions
Wed: 10:00 – 11:15
Session 247: Managing Innovation in Uncertain Environments
Wed: 11:30 – 12:45
Session 246: Strategic Responses to Turbulent Environmental Conditions

Strategic Management Society

Washington DC