Attention Mosaics: Studies of organizational attention Defended on Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Organizational studies emphasizing the role of attention in organizational behavior depart from the idea that organizations, like individuals, have limited capacity to attend to environmental stimuli. The bounded capacity of the organizations to respond to stimuli is conditioned by the limited cognitions of individuals and by the limited capability of organizations to distribute, coordinate and integrate those cognitions. The cross-level nature of organizational attention, its dual character as both a process and an output, means that theories of attention afford interesting insights to explain organizational behavior.

This dissertation presents one conceptual and two empirical studies about organizational attention. In the conceptual study entitled “Attention span: expanding the attention-based view to team, organizational and social movements levels”, it is argued that attentional processes have functional equivalence at the team, organizational and social movements level. The study entitled “When a thousand words are (not) enough: an empirical study of the relationship between firm performance and attention to shareholders”, tests the power of the attention-based view combined with resource dependence theory to explain the relationship between financial performance and attention to shareholders. Finally, the study “Sense and sensibility: testing the effects of attention structures and organizational attention on financial performance” tests the process model of situated attention by examining the effects of attention structures and the allocation of attention on organizational social responses and performance/

Together, these studies deepen and expand attentional perspectives on organizational behavior. Moreover, they renew scholars’ interest in organizational attention, indicating some of the strengths and limitations of theories of attention and also revealing a prolific research stream.


organizational attention, multilevel theory, resource dependence theory, shareholder, stakeholder management, corporate social responsibility, financial performance

Preferred reference

Carvalho de Mesquita Ferreira, L. (2010, June 30). Attention Mosaics: Studies of Organizational Attention (No. EPS-2010-205-ORG). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from

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