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Keywords:

  • managerial cognition;
  • sensing;
  • asset orchestration;
  • reconfiguration;
  • strategic renewal;
  • competitive heterogeneity

The microfoundations of dynamic capabilities have assumed greater importance in the search for factors that facilitate strategic change. Here, we focus on microfoundations at the level of the individual manager. We introduce the concept of “managerial cognitive capability,” which highlights the fact that capabilities involve the capacity to perform not only physical but also mental activities. We identify specific types of cognitive capabilities that are likely to underpin dynamic managerial capabilities for sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring, and explain their potential impact on strategic change of organizations. In addition, we discuss how heterogeneity of these cognitive capabilities may produce heterogeneity of dynamic managerial capabilities among top executives, which may contribute to differential performance of organizations under conditions of change. Finally, we propose possible directions for future research. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.