Forward-looking Reasoning and Persuasion: Resistance and Readiness in Revising Managerial Beliefs

Timo Ehrig, Jens Schmidt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Strategy in novel and changing environments requires generating and thinking through alternative and possibly conflicting courses of action rather than merely relying on prior experience. We develop an analytic model that depicts alternatives as logically consistent ""theories"" and use it to predict when managers are persuaded of a particular new theory. We model persuasion as belief revision and show how persuasion depends on both readiness for and overcoming resistance against a new theory. We find that ""what-if"" beliefs, which are beliefs about possible characteristics of the environment, are central to persuasion because they enable imagination and understanding of possible futures and thus influence value creation and bargaining. Our results point to strategic thinking as a neglected mechanism that contributes to firm heterogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventy-seven Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Place of PublicationBriar Cliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management: At the Interface - Georgia, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
Conference number: 77


Conference77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


  • Presuasion
  • Strategic reasoning
  • What-if thinking

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