The Attention-Based View of Great Strategies

William Ocasio, John Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For the attention-based view, the origins of the ideas behind a great strategy are less important than the ability of the organization to sustain focused attention in developing, implementing, and elaborating good ideas into a distinctive strategic agenda for value creation. We propose that the transformation of ideas into a great strategy is shaped by the firm’s identity and corresponding patterns of organizational attention. Furthermore, great strategies focus attention on creating value for the customer—through the firm’s value proposition and business model—relative to capturing value for the shareholders. Finally, we propose that great strategies emerge from a focused, strategic agenda communicated and distributed throughout the organization. We illustrate our propositions by comparing Apple and Motorola, which began with similar ideas for developing a strategy for seamless integration and seamless mobility, with smartphones as the digital hub. Apple sustained focused attention on transforming the ideas into the great strategy and business model behind the iPhone, while Motorola did not focus or sustain attention throughout the organization on developing its original ideas, leading to strategic failure.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-294
JournalStrategy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • managerial and organizational cognition
  • decision making
  • strategy formulation strategy implementation
  • Competitive advantage


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