Regulating Top Managers’ Emotions during Strategy Making: Nokia’s Socially Distributed Approach Enabling Radical Change from Mobile Phones to Networks in 2007–2013

Timo Vuori, Quy N. Huy

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Abstract

Strategy making can be emotional for decision makers, especially when facing a major threat or a disruptive change. Yet, we know little about whether and how strategic decision makers’ emotions are regulated and how such regulation influences strategy making. Based on a longitudinal study of Nokia from 2007 to 2013, we develop a process model of socially distributed emotion regulation. This model shows how various organizational groups help regulate top managers’ emotions. Top managers contain their initial emotional reactions to strategic options thanks to activities performed by groups with power over top managers. This enables top managers to form data-informed reappraisals of strategic options, contributing to gradual changes in their emotions. The reappraisal process is aided by diverse groups performing distinct roles. Top managers’ revised emotions, in turn, enable them to form new, iterative data-informed reappraisals and ultimately enable radical strategic change. Our study contributes to research on emotions and strategy making by showing how socially distributed emotion regulation operates during strategy making and influences its outcomes. We contribute to the cognitive perspective on strategy by showing how cognition and emotion interact over time during strategy making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-361
Number of pages31
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume65
Issue number1
Early online date4 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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