Strategic decision processes feature the interplay of decision participants who advocate different visions of the path to organizational success. By examining the mental maps of marketing and R&D managers, this study traces the changing portrait of a strategic decision. The Techno project, a highly contested decision in a Fortune 500 company, provided the context for our research. Employing a longitudinal design, interviews were conducted with marketing and R&D executives at three points in the decision process. Based on a content analysis of the executive interviews, mental maps were constructed to capture the changing belief structures of the two functions. The analysis is further enriched by qualitative data drawn directly from the transcribed interviews of marketing and R&D managers. Changes in the managers' belief structures are linked to corresponding changes in the direction of the strategic decision. Several propositions issuing from the research are offered and key managerial and research implications are highlighted.
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