Strategic Choice Model: Can Mental Models Change?

In an organization, leaders are responsible for their decision on making choices for the direction of the organization.  The most important factor to obtain the best outcome is the consistency and the delivery of the message chosen.  Strategic choice model suggests leaders choose strategies based on the relative force of the specific goal of communication and an individual response of receiver (Shelby, 1991).  Stacey (2007) emphasized that strategic choice theory refers to a choice of reality.  Leaders, who apply strategic choice model to their decision, ensure to identify the ends is crafted based upon reality and with the individuals of the organization.

Stacey (2007) identified that strategic choice connects to nature and takes particular position in relation to human behavior.  Strategic choice theory, therefore, is related to the rational choice because they are both associated with positivism and naturalism.  According to Hay (2004), a potential power of critical political analysis imposes the link between rational choice and both naturalism and positivism.  However, rational choice has contributed largely to politics and public administration in decision-making and influencing, rather strategic choice used by business leaders in that consequence.  Both make assumptions about human beings and that is a limitation because human behavior is somehow unpredictable.

The contrast, however, between strategic choice theory and rational choice theory is the attention to emotion and the impact to the organizational function.  Rational choice theory is not capable of dealing with the essential indeterminacy in social system (Hay, 2004).  Shelby (1991) argued that strategic choice theory is dealing with the concept of communication goals that reflect the characteristics of human behavioral intentions.

However, although strategic choice theory does not pay attention to emotion, it focuses on leadership, culture, and motivation via humanistic psychological perspectives (Stacey, 2007).  Strategic planning effectiveness is not only a deep focus on designing of choices, but is also depending on how well the implementation process conducted.  Predictability and controllability of those implicit assumptions by strategic choice theory should be considered as human behaviors and organizational life cannot be unchanged (Stacey, 2007).  Behavioral factors in an organization are also depending on the motivation of the working individuals and the leadership effectiveness in the organization.

The question remains: Is it possible to change the mental models?


Hay, C. (2004). Theory, stylized heuristic or self-fulfilling prophecy? The status of rational choice theory in public administration. Pubic Administration, 82(1), 39-62.

Shelby, A. (1991). Applying the strategic choice model to motivational appeals: A theoretical approach. The Journal of Business Communication, 28(3), 187-210.

Stacey, R. D. (2007). Strategic management and organizational dynamics: The challenge of complexity. (5th ed.) Essex, England, Pearson Education Limited.

About Phat Pham

I don't have money to share, but I do have a desire to transform our society, starting from the workplace and the local community I serve.
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