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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Strategic Management Journal
Title of proceedings Strategic Management Journal
DOI 10.1002/smj.2774


How can strategic decision-makers overcome inertia when dealing with change? In this paper we argue that cognitive flexibility (i.e. the ability to match the type of cognitive processing with the type of problem at hand) enables decision-makers to achieve significantly higher decision-making performance. We show that superior decision-making performance is associated with using semi-automatic Type 1 cognitive processes when faced with well-structured problems, and more deliberative Type 2 processes when faced with ill-structured problems. Our findings shed light on the individual-level mechanism behind organizational adaptation and complement recent work on strategic inertia. In addition, our findings extend management studies that have stressed the relevance of cognitive flexibility for responding to the demands of increasingly open, flexible, and rapidly changing organizations.