Attentional Oscillation: How Organizational Change Influences the Onset of Errors



We use longitudinal, qualitative data from a large Scandinavian pharmaceutical firm to show how two periods of radical change (a merger in 1989, and a demerger in 2001) created the foundation for the onset of errors. We develop a model of attentional oscillation in which attention shifts repeatedly between focus in one area of the firm to recovery and back again. The data also reveal the micro-processes that underlie this oscillation.