Getting Others to Agree on a View of the Future

Timo Ehrig, Jens Schmidt

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When thinking about and communicating their views about the future (e.g., whether a novel business model is scalable) strategists use theories and what-if beliefs (e.g., under which conditions the business model is scalable) as a way to simplify a complex space of possibilities. In this paper we propose a formal framework to examine how a strategist (e.g., a founder) can get others (e.g., an investor) to agree on his view of the future by communicating parts of his theory (e.g., convince him that the business model is scalable). Because his theory may be in conflict with others' theories getting them to agree may require them to give up beliefs. We use our framework to derive formal results about the difficulty to get agreement. Our framework builds on established assumptions about forward-looking reasoning, augmented with the assumption that strategists give up weakest premises of their theories first when faced with contradictions. Our results provide insights on how strategists can create “cognitive buy-in” on their views from others and thus shape organizations and markets to tap into new opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonja Taneja
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2022
Article number224
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022: Creating a Better World Together - Seattle, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022
Conference number: 82


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


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