Framing, control-related beliefs and outsourcing of decision making: a study of management consulting interventions

Toegel, Ginka (2003) Framing, control-related beliefs and outsourcing of decision making: a study of management consulting interventions. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School. OPEN ACCESS


Outsourcing of decision-making refers to the delegation of management’s responsibility to make decisions to external organizational agents. These include consultants. This thesis elaborates a theoretical framework for the analysis of outsourcing of decision-making, testing empirically its adaptive value for the self-regulation system. It explores why managers outsource decision-making and what consequences follow if they do not do so in situations framed as threat. A qualitative study suggested that two cognitive concepts, framing of the decision event and control-related beliefs, lead to outsourcing of decision-making. A quasi-experiment and an experiment using computer-simulation examined empirically their relevance to the propensity of managers to outsource strategic decision-making. Results showed that framing as opportunity led to a perception of enhanced control. Consequently, individuals were inclined to remain proactive and to shape their environment according to their wishes. This type of control has been conceived of in the literature as primary control. Threat, on the other hand, led to a perception of loss of control, and individuals tried to adapt internally, rather than change the environment. This cognitive strategy is called secondary control. The thesis reports the development of a scale of primary and secondary control in the field of management and confirms the following model: Framing as threat reduces the perception of primary control, which in turn makes outsourcing of decision-making more likely. Outsourcing of decision-making is accompanied by a transition from primary to secondary control. A failure to shift to secondary control under conditions of threat has negative impact on personal well-being. This research found empirical evidence that secondary control is a coping mechanism rather than a type of control. It is argued that management education should create awareness of its adaptive value. Two strategies could help to avoid high degrees of outsourcing of decision-making: influencing either the framing of the situation or the perception of control.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2022 16:04
Date of first compliant deposit: 02 Mar 2022
Subjects: Theses
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2022 05:52

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