Ephemeral- lasting for only a short period of time and leaving no permanent trace Assumptions, theoretical arguments, and their justification: The authors cite significant evidence that mental models influence decision making through managers’ efforts to match strategic choices to their understanding of the business environment. However, there is limited empirical evidence for the link between mental model accuracy and performance. There are strong beliefs within strategic management that managers who have a richer understanding about the dynamics of industry structure and organizational capabilities can improve the performance of their firms.
There is however, an alternative possibility that complexity, uncertainty, and change In business environments overwhelm managers’ capacity to take advantage of any richer understanding about the situation. Under these resistances, competitive advantage would be driven by initial conditions, random environmental shocks, and lucky managerial responses rather than the result of accurate mental models underpinning managerial foresight or strategic insights.
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The authors recognized that there has been little empirical research examining the relationships between differences In mental model accuracy and performance. Conclusions, and Theoretical/ empirical significance: The authors provide empirical evidence for the links between mental models and performance outcomes and help explain why some managers adopt strategies that are ultimately successful and there don’t. They found substantial variation in the accuracy of decision makers’ mental models and In performance outcomes.
Decision makers with more accurate mental models not only achieved high performance outcomes but these outcomes improved in delayed testing phases. These results provided evidence that decision makers’ mental models of the experimental task were not ephemeral. They also found that the benefits of partial knowledge about key principle far outweigh the benefits of other partial knowledge. Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses: Because this article is based on an experimental study, it lacks external validity.
This issue can only be solved through accumulating a stream of both experimental studies and field research replicating and extending their findings. Other authors extended prior work providing systematic evidence connecting differences in mental models of causal relationships with performance heterogeneity. Their findings are also consistent with prior research showing that experts with richer cognitive representations of the deep structure of problems outperform novices who typically focus on superficial features of problems