FR-P01-049 - On Framing Strategic Change: The Dynamics Underlying Cognitive Inertia and Change

Managing organizational change
Poster Presentation
Friday May 19   09:30 AM to 01:00 PM (3 hours 30 minutes)
O'Brien Foyer
Organizational Change and Development
Managing organizational change
On Framing Strategic Change: The Dynamics Underlying Cognitive Inertia and Change
C. Baert*, M. Debruyne 1
1Vlerick Business School & Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Content: Purpose
Cognitive inertia refers to decision-makers’ incapacity to timely challenge existing cognitive frames in a context of disruptive change, resulting in a lack of adaptation of those frames and, ultimately, strategic inertia. We extend theory on cognitive inertia by exploring decision-makers’ framing processes and their continuous evolution in response to change. As such, we study the evolutionary process of framing change and unpack how framing processes relate to either cognitive inertia or adaptation.
Adopting a grounded, interpretative case-study approach, we examined the micro-level framing processes of two media groups’ decision-makers (in speeches, interviews, column, etcetera, from 2000 to 2014) as they attempted to cognitively grasp the implications of digitalization and develop strategic responses.
We developed a typology of framing processes, consisting of nine types of framing processes (from frame stretching to frame blending). By mapping the sequential interrelations between these framing processes, thus tracking the evolutionary process of framing change, we identified four mechanisms that prompt either cognitive inertia or cognitive change.
Our findings need further validation in different industry contexts and with regards to different types of innovation.
Research Implications
Our study helps scholars explain how to cognitively grasp and act upon the implications of change driven by technological innovation.
This study adds to a recent stream of research that considers cognition to be a dynamic process of meaning construction, whereby meaning is created via the use of framing processes. We underline the role of language as a strategic element in organizational change processes.

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