Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Neurostrategy: An Advance through the Paradigm Epistemological in Strategic Management?

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Neurostrategy: An Advance through the Paradigm Epistemological in Strategic Management?

Article excerpt


The strategic management has passed through a revolution in the last 10 years with the introduction of new analytical tools in the decision-making process, many of them coming from neuroscience and that promise to revolutionize the way to see the strategic decision-making from economic models to an individual model and these advances could allow further study in several fields within the applied social sciences. Together with this, a new approach has been used in strategy management, the "neurostrategy" (Powell, 2014; Cristofaro, 2017). According to Powell (2011), it is a new way to analyze the behavior of human beings, by the use of neuroeconomics approach, which is leading business schools to conduct many types of research in marketing, economics, finance, leadership and human resource management and finally the strategic management.

The term neurostrategy is relatively recent and it appeared firstly in scientific journals by Powell (2011) and until now there is no significant amount of researches done on the subject, which opens paths for a limited interpretation of what means neurostrategy- related studies. Since strategic management theories focused on the economic vision of the company, this type of research (neurostrategy) in decision-making is a fresh air once it brings a look back not only to the individuals but also to their brains (Polowczyk, 2012).

The economic vision adopted widely by researchers in strategic management set the organization as the unit of analysis and has four fundamental paradigms: (i) based on the Porterian view of industry and economy and the competitive forces (Porter, 2004), where the industry is who determines the strategy of the company; (ii) the paradigm which covers the transaction costs, using the transaction theory of Williamson (1979) rooted in Coase (1937) along with the Theory of Agency by Jensen & Meckling (1976); (iii) the resource- based view (Peteraf, 1993; Rumelt, 1997; Wernerfelt, 1984) which comes from Penrose (1959); (iv) the vision linked to evolutionary innovation and entrepreneurship. As Polowczyk (2012), these four basic theories of strategic management do not explain the inhomogeneity of human behavior.

Teece et al. (1997) remain open this discussion, raising the fifth paradigm in decision-making expressed as dynamic capabilities (Prahalad & Hamel, 1990). Differently, from others, the dynamic capability approach based on a Schumpeterian overview, but it also does not take into consideration the usage of psychological, behavioral and neurological issues on decision-making. In addition, Powell (2014) explains that, in spite of the organizations being populated by living creatures and sentimental thinking, theories around the strategic management are interpersonal, such as those linked to the dynamic capabilities, even when their results point to an individualization instead of standardization, those strategic management theories still treat people through a massification and homogeneous way.

It is vital to seek out for new forms of study of decision-making on strategic management to allow new answers to challenges that remain without a more scathing confirmation, such as: Why have the same strategy different results when various managers apply it? Why do entirely different strategies bring the same effect? Why the strategy did does not follow the plan, the organization remains succeeds?

These questions, commonly done with the organizations as a unit of analysis set, seem to become increasingly close to finding their answers in the individuals and now, together with the advances highlighted by neuroscience, within the brains of these people. This paper aimed to bring significant contributions to the field of neurostrategy and strategic management by three main contributions: (i) the most critical stands out for the relevance of the topic, because it is a new approach to strategic management that uses the most modern tools to study the brain and unlike the others, it uses the brain as the object of study; (ii) by expanding studies over the recent scientific literature, in order to reduce the gap on the neurostrategy, turning it into an important pathfinder to new researchers who want to start studies in neurostrategy and: (iii) bringing new concepts from other areas, such as neurobiology, neurochemistry and cognitive processes, as further technical frameworks, which could highlights new paradigms in the field of study of decision-making on strategic management by correlating this area to the cognitive neuroscience. …

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