Information Gathering and Changes in Threat and Opportunity Perceptions

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Journal of Management Studies, ISSN: 0022-2380, Vol: 44, Issue: 3, Page: 367-387

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Marc H. Anderson, Mary L. Nichols
Business, Management and Accounting
article description
Managers need to make sense of emerging strategic issues that could significantly impact their businesses. While models of this sensemaking process suggest that information gathering affects interpretations (which affect action and performance), researchers have argued that our understanding of the role of information in changing interpretations is underdeveloped. This paper investigates the role of the time managers spend searching for information and the diversity of the information they find in changing managers' perceptions that an equivocal, strategic issue represents a threat and opportunity for their businesses. The methodology involves a longitudinal research design in which managers recorded multiple, process-oriented measures of their information gathering activity. Results suggest that time spent searching for information leads to changes towards seeing the issue as more of a threat, while the diversity of information found leads to changes towards seeing it as less of a threat. We found no effect of information gathering on opportunity perceptions. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2007.

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