The research reported here sought to identify top managers' mental models about the management of diversification and to determine whether these beliefs are associated with important strategic decisions. The study identified three broad sets of beliefs or orientations about the management of diversification that are commonly held by managers of large diversified firms. The study found that these management orientations are significantly associated with a number of key strategic choices, including decisions about the extent of diversification, divestment activity, new product development efforts, and research and development spending. The results offer empirical evidence of the influence of managerial cognition on strategic decision making.
The study reported here examined the relationship between executives' career experiences and their beliefs and understandings about the management of diversification. The study identified three broad sets of beliefs or orientations that executives hold about the management of diversification. In spite of a longstanding theoretical basis for hypothesizing that managerial demography will influence cognition, the study found no association between the top managers' career experiences that were considered in this study and their beliefs about the management of diversification. Based on this finding of a lack of relationships between demography and managerial beliefs, the paper offers some new theorizing on the relationship between career experiences and managers' beliefs about the management of diversification. It also suggests some implications for human resource practices, specifically the recruiting and development of top executives in large diversified firms.
This paper considers the challenges associated with conducting research with undergraduates – limited time and resources, limited skills, the tedious nature of data gathering, etc.. We discuss four models of effective research approaches. One is Aju Fenn’s which is to identify a topic and a workable approach, such as competitive balance in sports, and apply it in different contexts – football, basketball, soccer, etc. with different students working on different sports. This model is also successful because much data on both inputs and performance is collected in sports and is readily available from non-propriety sources. The Dan Johnson Model is to develop a huge data set, in this case patents, and then set students to work on problems involving some aspect of the data set while asking them develop one part of the data set through their research. The Smith Model which is to divide a related problem into distinct parts and have students work on each part. Smith discusses this approach on research on recreation values for the Arkansas River a quantitative problem while Stimpert shows its application to a qualitative problem, the role of corporate boards.