Analogical reasoning, which refers to relying on the experience or knowledge in one domain to resolve the problems in another domain, is a central component of human cognition to understand strategy-making issues under uncertainty. Although more and more research has applied analogical reasoning to understand various strategic and organizational issues recently, A systematic review and discussion about its process and factors determining the effectiveness of analogical reasoning remains limited. We refer analogical reasoning in strategic decision making to a process that includes cognition and action, to reach the solution to the strategic problem that existed or constructed. The process includes five steps: encode, mapping, judge, search and act. Through a systemic review and integration on prior research, we propose a unified conceptual framework that incorporates four external factors and five process factors, and discuss how these factors interactive to determine the effectiveness of analogical reasoning. We label the complexity and dynamic of the environment, the focus and diversity of external information, the depth, diversity and complexity of the decision maker’s experience and some psychological characteristics （meta-cognitive activities and learning orientation） of the decision maker as external factors, which determine the effectiveness of decisions through influencing the complexity of the mental representation, the algorithm of mapping, the depth and diversity of the knowledge about source contexts, the type of heuristics and the search strategies. These five factors are critical cognition components directly related to make effective decisions, labeled as process factors. Despite much progress, we explicate an agenda for future research. First, in individual-level, more efforts should be devoted into understanding analogical reasoning process. Second, more attention should be directed to scale individual-level analogical reasoning to collective behaviors. Third, factors influencing the performance of decisions and their interactions demand further exploration.
Strategic Decision Making under Uncertainty: The Role of Analogical Reasoning
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 08, pp. 17 - 29 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.08.002
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Cite this article
Liao Ying, Liu Peng, Xi Youmin. Strategic Decision Making under Uncertainty: The Role of Analogical Reasoning[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(8): 17-29.