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This article reports on an experiment that was undertaken to elicit the shared perceptions of a group of individuals in relation to a particular organizational domain. These shared perceptions were termed collective beliefs, and were to be modelled in the form of a causal cognitive map. An initial conceptual framework was presented in which it was posited that groups of individuals who work closely together share a set of common beliefs which enable them to function successfully as a group. These shared beliefs are an integral part of the group's cultural identity. Collective beliefs were defined as those beliefs which are a function of the group, encompassing more than those beliefs that are shared by the individuals within the group. Following the experiment it was proposed that it is not necessary for members of a group to have a complete set of shared beliefs in order to function as a decision‐making group. In the new model, collective cognitions are described as merely transitory phenomena, changing in response to circumstances. The reforming of such phenomena over time results in the formation of shared belief systems. This framework was supported by the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-368
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

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