When shared frames become contested: Environmental dynamism and capability (re)configuration as a trigger of organizational framing contests
Book chapter, 2016
This study investigates the role of functional area-specific managerial schemas on the attempt of strategic renewal at a large medical devices developer and manufacturer during a period of high environmental dynamism. Using data from a 16-month field study on managerial work related to the strategy process, I examine how functional area managers attempted to (re)configure organizational capabilities in response to various environmental challenges. While I did not find any disagreement between functional area managers related to what those challenges were, I did find fundamental disagreements related to what capabilities the organization can muster as a response. More specifically, disagreements surfaced in relation to how these capabilities should be assembled, and ultimately acted as triggers for the contestation of existing shared frames between functional area managers. These findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that there exist large differences between how managers within an organization interpret what the organization is capable of, and more specifically link these differences to the organization’s ability to adapt to environmental changes by showing how they impact the assembly of new capabilities deemed necessary for a successful response.