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Communication Clarity In Strategic Management Data Sources

Terrie C. Reeves, Eric W. Ford, W. Jack Duncan, Peter M. Ginter

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Researchers often use organizational documents as source material without considering that measurements of organizational attributes might vary according to the document type used. We examine the communication clarity, described by sensitivity and specificity, of three document types used to score organizational strategy variables. We hypothesize that each type will have greater sensitivity or greater specificity, depending upon document objectives and rhetorical devices. Using a partial least squares analysis method, all except one hypothesis were supported: communication clarity does vary by document type. Shortcomings of each document type are discussed and possible ways for strategy researchers to overcome those shortcomings are suggested.