GHNP Seminar: Theory-Driven Strategic Management Decisions


Many important strategic decisions are "low-frequency / high-impact." They are more fundamental than ordinary, "high-frequency", decisions and most often cannot rely on past data or benchmarks. In these cases, problem framing is critical. So far, not only are managers and executives making poor decisions of these kinds, but we do not have good protocols to make them. The seminar discusses a “scientific” approach to make these decisions. It provides theoretical foundations of these decisions, and shows how to apply the protocol in practice using examples. In a nutshell, the protocol entails that decision-makers first decide how to frame the problem by selecting relevant attributes and causal links. It then tests these causal links and assigns beliefs to theories. Key to the decision process is to develop multiple theories and test them against each other. Testing alternative theories implies that managers can test more risky and innovative theories, and thus be more innovative, because if tests fail, they can resort to more standard theories and decisions. The seminar also provides evidence that this approach leads to better decisions.


Alfonso Gambardella, PhD Economics, Stanford University, is Professor of Corporate Management in the Department of Management & Technology of Bocconi University, Milan. He has worked on different topics in the economics and management of firm strategies and innovation. He is Department Editor of Business Strategy of Management Science, a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society and a member of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), London. In 2021 he was awarded an ERC grant on “A Scientific Approach to Innovation Management.” His website is

Link zoom:

Meeting ID: 934 8763 1500

Passcode: 101353

Lunch at the end of the meeting. For those willing to participate in person, please write to