An ability-based view of the organization: strategic and contingent contexts

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Farley Simon Nobre
Andrew M Tobias
David S Walker


This paper extends the corporation-based metaphor of the tree by proposing that cognition is the core ability which contributes to nourishing the development of core competencies in the organization. From such an extension, this paper takes a raises the following question: What is the role of cognition in the organization that is in the pursuit of core competencies and sustainable competitive advantage? This paper answers this problem by presenting two perspectives that contribute toward introducing the field of organizational cognition into the domains of the resource-based view and contingency. First, it proposes an ability-based view of the organization through analogies which are most associated with the concepts of the resource-based view and dynamic capabilities of the firm. Second, it proposes a contingency-based view of organizational cognition which is most developed through causal relations and also deductive and inductive reasoning. Grounded in these perspectives, this study sustains the thesis that cognition is a source of controlling environmental uncertainty and, complementarily, cognition contributes toward creating and sustaining the organization's competitive advantage.


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Nobre, F. S., Tobias, A. M., & Walker, D. S. (1). An ability-based view of the organization: strategic and contingent contexts. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 15(3), 413-432.