Mindfulness and the quality of organizational attention

Karl E. Weick, Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mindfulness as depicted by Levinthal and Rerup (2006) involves encoding ambiguous outcomes in ways that influence learning, and encoding stimuli in ways that match context with a repertoire of routines. We add to Levinthal and Rerup's conjectures by examining Western and Eastern versions of mindfulness and how they function as a process of knowing an object. In our expanded view, encoding becomes less central. What becomes more central are activities such as altering the codes, differentiating the codes, introspecting the coding process itself, and, most of all, reducing the overall dependence on coding and codes. Consequently, we shift from Levinthal and Rerup's contrast between mindful and less mindful to a contrast between conceptual and less conceptual. When people move away from conceptuality and encoding, outcomes are affected more by the quality than by the quantity of attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-524
Number of pages11
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 9 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Conceptualizing
  • Encoding
  • Mindful organizing
  • Mindfulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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