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Traditions of Renewal - How four traditions linking emotion and cognition in different ways allow for strategic renewal ahead of one’s time


  • Manuel Hensmans
  • George Yip
  • Gerry Johnson


In this paper we address an empirical and theoretical issue which is under researched. Does history, i.e. a company’s organizational traditions, hamper strategic renewal and cause drift, as the management literature suggests? Or can traditions help companies to systematically and successfully renew themselves? To empirically analyse this question we take issue with two empirical selection biases in the strategic management literature: most of the literature on managed strategic change discusses historical inertia and financial stress induced renewal processes. Instead, we argue for a focus on long-lived companies that continuously renewed themselves for a period of twenty years without the trigger of financial stress. We find that the secret of the success of these companies is that more than forty years ago they began to foster 4 traditions of renewal. The four traditions are continuity, anticipation, contestability and mobility. The traditions link different types of emotional action readiness to dominant and alternative logics and coalitions, allowing our sample companies to deal with the non-linearity of strategic renewal processes by being one step ahead of time as it were.

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  • Manuel Hensmans & George Yip & Gerry Johnson, 2011. "Traditions of Renewal - How four traditions linking emotion and cognition in different ways allow for strategic renewal ahead of one’s time," Working Papers CEB 11-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/89063

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