The cognitive perspective in strategy: An integrative review

V. K. Narayanan, Lee J. Zane, Benedict Kemmerer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

241 Scopus citations


This article integrates the literature on strategic cognition (SC) within a framework that links the antecedents, structure, and process of SC with outcomes. Reviewing the literature from 1993 (two years prior to Walsh's review of managerial and organizational cognition) until 2007, this article identifies three elements of SC structure (organizational identity, strategy frames, and organizational routines) and four SC processes (strategy formulation, strategy implementation, strategic change, and organizational learning). The literature portrays strategy formulation as a complex activity consisting of scanning, sensemaking, and decision making. Strategy implementation is composed of sensegiving, sensemaking, and issue selling. This review identifies five streams of empirical research with three well-developed themes (the antecedents and outcomes of strategy frames, determinants and consequences of strategy formulation, and cognitive construction of competitive/industry dynamics) and two emerging themes (the determinants and consequences of strategy implementation and the antecedents and outcomes of organizational identity). This review identifies several opportunities to extend the literature and outlines key methodological implications. Finally, the review addresses the need to build linkages to the ongoing theoretical conversations within strategic management literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-351
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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