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The world is currently changing and becoming more complex and interconnected than before; particularly the new information age has placed demands on the manager’s information processing abilities, in terms of paying attention to important issues related to organizational success. However, owing to the manager’s limited rationality, they find it a challenge to handle effectively the marvelous amounts of information available and take quick suitable actions. As per Simon, a poverty of attention is created as a result of the wealth of information available.
Within this regards, management researchers have started exploring the role of attention in the area of strategic management and organizational behavior based on the attention based theories. Within, attention is treated as a scare resource that should be properly managed for effective results in such a world of environmental disturbances and rapid innovations to make best use of the opportunities available. It helps to define a firm’s success in terms of the strategy and priorities it pursues whether radical or incremental opportunities.
Opportunities pursued help companies to develop various types of innovations achieving competitive advantage. Such ideas are mainly developed by the organizational top managers and its employees. Not all individuals identify the same opportunities the same way. They differ in terms of how and why they identify these particular opportunities and take action upon. These differences are attributable to individual attention allocation, particularly as a scarce resource making certain types of data going unnoticed or interpreted at all.
Attention based view as a concept is still evolving and gaining wide attention, constituting a productive model to explain a diverse set of organizational outcomes such as organizational change, management innovation, internationalization strategies (Ferreira, 2017). Based on a Google Scholar search engine till 2017, Ocasio (1997) was cited in almost 2,000 studies; indicating the relevance of the concept and its effect in the area of organizational behavior (Ferreira, 2017). It is used to explain organizational responses and activities by analyzing how time and effort are structurally distributed within organizations on both problems and solutions (Ferreira, 2017). Firm behavior is both a cognitive and a structural process (Ocasio, 1997), thus, actions of individuals are not resultants of individual characteristics knowledge, rather than a consequence of the situations; linked to immediate context in which cognition and action are situated.
Organizational attention is a multilevel top down and bottom up processing of opportunities, using structure and cognition to explain how firms distribute and regulate their decision makers’ attention, affecting organizational behavior. Thus placing attention based perspective in an advantaged position to explain relationship between organizational structures, processes, and outcomes using its key effective factors of prior knowledge, cognitive structure, attention structure and procedural and communication channels to recognize various opportunities and balance its exploitation and exploration capabilities.
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