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Idea Selection

Quantum Leaps or Baby Steps? Expertise Distance, Construal Level, and the Propensity to Invest in Novel Technological Ideas


Deliberate cognition is an important mechanism for overcoming inertia. Yet, the precise nature of cognition that propels decision makers to endorse novelty is not well understood. We propose that expertise distance is a fundamental force shaping decision-makers' willingness to invest in novelty. We further suggest that the level of mental construal through which information is processed moderates the effect of expertise distance on investment propensity, principally by changing decision-makers' perceptions of an idea's novelty and usefulness. We test our theory in two studies. Study 1 is a field study of 120 decision-makers considering a novel technological idea—quantum key distribution. Study 2 is an experiment that conceptually replicates our first study. Our findings contribute to the debate on strategic cognition and the microfoundations of strategic adaptation.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack: A Theoretical Analysis and Test of Creative Idea Selection in Groups (Working Paper)

Image by Oli Dale

Organizations widely use groups in the selection of creative ideas, but groups routinely prove ineffective at this task. We integrate past research on group decision-making and creativity to develop a theoretical model of the factors determining the effectiveness of the idea selection process in groups. Based on our model and the factors we identified, we then specify potential impediments that can derail the idea selection process. To mitigate the impediments, we propose solutions to each of them and design a structured process that combines and integrates these solutions. We then test the effectiveness of this structured process with an experiment. Consistent with our theory, results revealed that groups that were instructed to follow the structured process we designed selected ideas of greater novelty, usefulness, and creativity out of a pool of ideas as compared to unstructured groups and nominal groups in which non-interacting individual decisions are pooled mathematically. We discuss the implications of our theoretical and empirical analyses for theory and practice. 

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