Linking Managerial Cognition and Organizational Performance: A Preliminary Investigation Using Causal Maps



This paper considers the potential relationship between individual cognition and organizational performance. A series of causal maps are elicited from the owner-managers of retail businesses which are either growing or static and contracting. The maps are compared using a series of propositions to establish whether individual cognition is consistent with the contrasts which would be expected between relatively high and low performing businesses. When the general characteristics of the maps are compared no significant differences are found when the propositions are evaluated. However, a subsequent inductive phase of analysis suggests that more detailed insights can be gained through a focus on the relationships between specific types of concept within the individual maps. In contrast to the assumptions made in many mapping studies, this finding suggests that it is the idiosyncratic details of map content and structure which provide the basis for exploring the relationship between cognition and performance, rather than the overall characteristic of the maps.