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Business Framework: Analogical Strategic Reasoning
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What is Analogical Strategic Reasoning?
Analogical strategic reasoning is described by Giovanni Gavetti and Jan W. Rivkin in a fascinating article in HBR, April 2005. Although the authors have certainly not invented analogical reasoning, they deserve credit for explaining how it is used and can best be used within strategic decision-making. According to the authors, managers can benefit if they understand their own reasoning by analogy. Faced with an unfamiliar, novel, problem or opportunity, senior managers often think back to some similar situation they have seen or heard about, draw lessons from it, and then apply, transfer, those lessons to the current situation. Strategic reasoning by analogy can be very powerful if used correctly, but unfortunately also has major pitfalls. Compared to deduction and trial and error, Analogical Strategic Reasoning (according to Gavetti and Rivkin) has the advantage that strategic problems are neither so novel and complex that only trial and error can provide help, nor they are so familiar and modular that they permit deduction. Here's why Analogical Strategic Reasoning is used often by strategy makers:
Political scientists Ernest May and Richard Neustadt found that analogical reasoning often leads astray policy makers.Usage of Analogical Strategic Reasoning
To avoid the limitations or pitfalls of analogical strategic reasoning, Gavetti and Rivkin recommend the following four steps:
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