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Toward a theory of intraorganizational attention based on desirability and feasibility factors

Authors

  • Ilídio Barreto,

    Corresponding author
    1. Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal
    • Correspondence to: Ilídio Barreto, Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Palma de Cima, Lisboa 1649 – 023, Portugal. E-mail: iba@ucp.pt

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  • david l. Patient

    1. Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal
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Abstract

Why would managers in the same firm differ in their attention to opportunity versus threat aspects of the same exogenous shock? Drawing on the attention-based view, strategic issue diagnosis theory, and construal level theory, we propose and test a theoretical model of differentiated attention among managers within a firm driven by desirability (shock distance) and feasibility (capability perception) considerations. Managers more distant from the locus of the shock and managers with stronger ex ante perceptions regarding organizational capabilities to address the shock paid more attention to opportunity aspects and less attention to threat aspects. We also found subordination effects between shock distance and capability perception, and a moderating role of domain-specific experience on the effects of capability perception.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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