Al-Shaghroud, Maha and Ng, Wilson (2016) Collective sensing as a source of dynamic managerial capability: A situated cognition approach to identifying superior acquisition opportunities. In: Conference Proceedings of the 76th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. Academy of Management.

This paper addresses a core but neglected question in corporate strategy of how unusually high-yielding (Òsuperioró) acquisition opportunities may be identified. Drawing on a situated cognition perspective of managerial action, we articulate a process in which the top management team (ÒTMTó) of a UK plastics manufacturer collectively engaged in Òpurposive improvisationó (MacLean, MacIntosh, & Seidl, 2015) to identify superior acquisition opportunities that were Òcognitively distantó (Gavetti, 2012) to the firm. This process, which we call Òcollective sensingó, is presented within a socially situated space of informal Òget-togethersó in the acquiring firm wherein reactions to personal ideas for acquisitions that were unknown to the firm were aired and shared among top managers. In get-togethers we suggest how the organizational roles of managers were temporarily put aside in favor of emergent social roles, while enacting these roles also enabled managers to avoid the organizational constraints of their employers. Several propositions are advanced on the nature and utility of collective sensing as a key, initiating stage in corporate strategic management.