Why and How Will a Group Act Autonomously to Make an Impact on the Development of Organizational Capabilities?
In this paper I report the findings of an inductive, interpretative case study of proactive and autonomous actions instigated by a group at a major pharmaceutical firm in order to accelerate and shape organizational capability at this firm. This two-year field research was seen as an ideal vehicle for investigating why a group within a firm proactively engages with a pattern of capability development, how such proactive engagement is conducted, and what these proactive activities are. I assert that autonomous action originates from intra-firm heterogeneity of group-level cognitive frames and social identities. The evidence suggests that a group with a particularly distinct perception of the strategic value of a capability will be more likely to initiate autonomous action with the aim of making an impact on capability development. The likelihood of autonomous action increases further if a group acts to strengthen the distinctiveness of its own identity by raising the perceived value of a capability that compares unfavourably with other firms’ capabilities. The field observations suggest that in circumstances of high inter-group dependency and limited group authority, the group attempts to make an impact on capability development by adopting creative and socially complex framing practices. The group formalizes a collective and cognitive search process in order to legitimize the preferred action and subtly sells the issue to higher authority without causing conflict, while still sustaining the group’s intent.
- Journal or Publication:
- Journal of Management Studies
- Krsto Pandza
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