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When the Glass is Half-Full and Half-Empty: CEOs Ambivalent Interpretations of Strategic Issues, Strategic Management Journal

Abstract

Organizational scholars have highlighted the importance of interpretive ambivalence for mindfulness, creativity, and strategic change. Ambivalence occurs when an issue is seen simultaneously as positive and negative. We examine organizational factors that influence the propensity of organizational leaders to evaluate a new strategic issue ambivalently. Data come from a survey of 220 German CEOs confronted with the enlargement of the European Union. We find that CEOs of firms with a more ambidextrous strategic orientation and a moderate sense of organizational control over their environment are most likely to be ambivalent about this issue. Our findings affirm the prevalence of interpretive ambivalence at the executive level, and suggest ways for organizations to promote, or prevent, ambivalence in strategic sensemaking.

Type

Article

Author(s)

Nils Plambeck, Klaus Weber

Date Published

2010

Citations

Plambeck, Nils, and Klaus Weber. 2010. When the Glass is Half-Full and Half-Empty: CEOs Ambivalent Interpretations of Strategic Issues. Strategic Management Journal. 31: 689-710.

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