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Research seminar with Assistant Professor Donal Crilly
February 22, 2013 @ 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
Donal Crilly is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. His main research areas are stakeholder theory, managerial cognition, boundaries of the firm, and corporate social responsibility.
“The Psycholinguistic Foundations of Responding to Stakeholder Pressures”
Research at the interface between linguistics and cognitive science reveals relationships between linguistic processing and knowledge representation. Building upon these insights, I apply natural language processing to interviews with 88 senior executives from nine multinational enterprises grouped in matched pairs and triads to identify the link between linguistic style and how well firms respond to divergent stakeholder pressures. Executives from the firms that best satisfy a broad range of stakeholders use exclusive connectives (‘but,’ ‘only,’ ‘if’) that imply a narrow categorization of the issue at hand and specialized attention. Simultaneously, they and their colleagues have a more convergent linguistic style than peers in low socially performing firms, implying a role for language in fostering coordination among individuals with distinct foci of attention. The contribution is an initial understanding of how cognitive linguistics can advance organizational scholarship by identifying the linguistic markers of specialization at the individual level and coordination at the group level.