Strategy options and cognitive freezing: The case of the Dundee jute industry in Scotland

R. MacKay*, S. Masrani, Peter McKiernan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on extensive archival research, this article analyses the 'soft systems', such as logic and thinking, inherent in the Dundee jute industry post its world domination in the 1880s into its final demise and eventual reduction to a fringe competitor in the 1970s. Evidence for the existence of powerful individual firm and collective industry recipes that resulted in "cognitive freezing" is provided and, drawing on the earlier work of MacKay and McKiernan [The role of hindsight in foresight: refining strategic reasoning, Futures (2004) (3) 161-179], a theoretical framework that explains the formulation of these recipes is posited. The article argues that cognitive freezing on past recipes within the individual firm soft systems and the collective soft systems of the industry resulted in the industries' managers missing existing strategy options that could have triggered industry renewal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-941
Number of pages17
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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