Managerial influence on attitude formation in organizations: how to manage emergence

  • Peter van Woensel
  • Dick de Gilder
  • Peter van den Besselaar
  • Peter Groenewegen


The emergence of a shared attitude in organizations can be regarded as a self-organizing complex process in which a majority attitude emerges from the ensemble of interactions among individuals. Almost by definition, emerging processes seem beyond the control of management, which is in conflict with the task of management to steer an organization. By modeling the emergence of a shared attitude in organizations, we were able to demonstrate that management had a distinct influence on this process. Furthermore, the first round of interactions was decisive for the outcome. The key to influencing the emergence of a shared attitude is to reduce resistance against the preferred attitude. High levels of group conformity inhibited conversion to the preferred attitude. Although the emergence of a shared attitude can be influenced by management, there remains an intrinsic uncertainty in the outcomes of attitude development processes.


Complexity Emergence Attitude formation Computer modeling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organization Sciences, Faculty of Social SciencesFree University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Human GeneticsNijmegenThe Netherlands

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