This study aimed to investigate how managerial experiences affect the whole process of strategic sensemaking on the individual and team-level including the interactions of both levels. Overall, the results support Hambrick and Mason’s suggestion that top management teams play an important role in strategic decision-making of organizations.579 Top managers with their individual experience affect if and when teams perceive new environmental changes, how they interpret these detected changes and how they react on them. This study shows the importance of distinguishing between depth and breadth of managerial experience, as these discrete dimensions of experience have different effects on strategic sensemaking on the individual as well as the organizational level. Three research questions were derived, which help to better understand strategic sensemaking in organizations and which answers fill shortcomings of extant research:
  1. (1)

    What are the effects of the individual knowledge base (represented by breadth and depth of intrapersonal functional and organizational experience) on the three steps of the individual strategic sensemaking process?



Team Member Managerial Experience Relationship Conflict Agenda Setting Task Conflict 
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  1. 579.
    See Hambrick and Mason (1984) and chapter B4.1 for further discussion.Google Scholar
  2. 580.
    See for example Schein (1996), who describes sub-cultures of executives, engineers, and operators that inhibit communication within an organization. He also reports “shared assumptions [...] around the functional units of the organization” (p. 12).Google Scholar
  3. 581.
    See for example Te’eni (2001), pp. 287, for the effects of sender-receiver distance. See Levin, Whitener and Cross (2004), pp. I1, for the impact of trustworthiness of knowledge sources and Korsgaard, Schweiger and Sapienza (1995), pp. 67, for the importance of intragroup trust for the communication flow.Google Scholar
  4. 582.
    Bunderson and Sutcliffe (2002).Google Scholar
  5. 583.
    For the calculation of the different measures on a team’s diversity see Bunderson and Sutcliffe (2002), pp. 878.Google Scholar
  6. 584.
    Like the most often used dominant function diversity does, see for example the contributions by Bantel and Jackson (1989), Smith et al. (1994), Hambrick, Cho and Chen (1996), Knight et al. (1999), Pelled, Eisenhardt and Xin (1999), or Carpenter and Frederickson (2001).Google Scholar
  7. 585.
    Like functional assignment diversity does, see for example the contributions by Lant, Milliken and Batra (1992), Keck and Tushman (1993), Keck (1997), or Simons, Pelled and Smith (1999). 586 Like functional background diversity does, see for example the contributions by Glick, Miller and Huber (1993) or Sutcliffe (1994).Google Scholar
  8. 587.
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  12. 591.
    See for example Kim (1993), Corner, Kinicki and Keats (1994), Crossan et al. (1995), Crossan, Lane and White (1999), and Kor (2003) and the respective discussion in chapter C1.Google Scholar
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    Bunderson and Sutcliffe (2002), p. 875. See also the discussion in chapters C6.1.1 and C6.2.1.Google Scholar
  14. 593.
    Such an exclusive analysis is a strategy that is pursued by many studies focusing on CEOs (see for example Sawyerr, 1993; Wally and Baum, 1994; Lewin and Stephens, 1994; Calori, Johnson and Sarnin, 1994; Chattopadhyay, Glick and Huber, 2001; or Garg, Walters and Priem, 2003) as well as by experimental research, which analyzes the effect of experience in isolated individual decision tasks (see for example Day and Lord, 1992; Sitkin and Weingart, 1995; Beyer et al., 1997; Boiney, Kennedy and Nye, 1997; or Hough and Ogilvie, 2005).Google Scholar
  15. 597.
    An increased amount of available data on important fields of competition is also described by Eisenhardt’s concept of “real-time information”; see Eisenhardt (1989b), p. 549.Google Scholar
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    See Jehn, Northcraft and Neale (1999), p. 758.Google Scholar
  17. 599.
    For example, they might have referred to relatively recent events, which were extraordinarily successful or unsuccessful and thus influenced the manner in which the interviewees viewed themselves as well as their team. This bias is also known as “transient mood state”, see for example Podsakoff et al. (2003), pp. 882.Google Scholar
  18. 600.
    See Leonard, Beauvais and Scholl (2005), pp. 126–130, for a discussion of different sources of leadership.Google Scholar
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  20. 602.
    “The first criterion should be to maximize what we can learn”, Stake (1995), p. 4.Google Scholar
  21. 603.
    “[...] cases which are likely to replicate or extend the emergent theory [...]”, Eisenhardt (1989a), p. 537.Google Scholar
  22. 604.
    See Hubbard, Vetter and Little (1998).Google Scholar
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    See Stoll (2007), p. 161.cGoogle Scholar

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