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Grammar, Representations and Mental Maps: Insights into Corporate Strategy

ABSTRACT

Decision-spaces faced by strategists are unimaginably large and attempts to determine optimal strategies for organizations using enumerative methods are impractical. Strategists limit the number of options they consider by creating simplified mental models of the real-world. These models spring from an initial choice of representation which embeds the strategist’s opinion of what factors matter; the subsequent selection of specific routines operationalizes the representation. This operationalization implicitly defines a series of hypotheses as to the relative importance of each element of the representation, and as to how the elements of the representation interact. Many distinct representations are possible, and many modes of operationalization exist for each representation. The utility of each representation and operationalization, will alter as the environment against which it is tested, changes. This paper highlights the potential of a Grammar metaphor to assist in understanding the process by which strategists create and adapt different representations and mental models of the world. A recent development in the in the field of computer science, Grammatical Evolution,  is introduced to illustrate how a Generative Grammar can potentially give rise to many mental representations of an environment, but simultaneously limits the range of these

Keywords:       Representations, mental models, grammatical evolution

 

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