Strategic consensus on resource accumulation decisions

Date of Completion

January 2003


Business Administration, Management




Resource accumulation consensus and constructive confrontation are expected to lead to organizational effectiveness. Resource accumulation consensus should lead to consistency in the pattern of resource flows and to the accumulation of superior stocks of assets and skills, which will translate in superior organizational effectiveness. Constructive confrontation encourages vigorous discussion and entails a deliberate process of information processing, thus resulting in higher organizational effectiveness. ^ The strategy process literature argues that constructive confrontation should lead to strategic consensus. Creating consensus in the resource accumulation process appears to depend on how organizations are able to create and sustain constructive confrontation. However, the organizational behavior literature argues the reverse relationship, in which consensus affects subsequent processes. Therefore, two alternative models are tested. ^ Network centralization and structural equivalence have been identified as antecedents of constructive confrontation. These two network properties capture the distribution of power and the flow of information, which is essential in allowing and facilitating constructive confrontation. ^ The survey-data was analyzed via path analysis and the goodness of fit indices indicated that the partially mediated models best fit the data. As predicted, constructive confrontation was found to have a positive impact on organizational effectiveness. The relationship between consensus and organizational effectiveness however, only received marginal support. The strategy process model, which argues that constructive confrontation leads to consensus, received mixed support. The organizational behavior model, which argues that consensus leads to constructive confrontation, received marginal support. Both centralization and structural equivalence were found to have an impact on organizational effectiveness and constructive confrontation. ^ This dissertation contributes to the strategy process literature in three ways. First, it defines and examines a new type of strategic consensus, one that is related to how organizations accumulate resources and thereby create competitive advantage. Second, it investigates constructive conflict; a construct has received almost no theoretical attention at the unit or network levels of analysis. Third, it extends prior work by articulating specific relationships between characteristics of intra-organizational networks and the critical information exchanges associated with resource accumulation and organizational learning. ^