Analogy and business choice

In the absence of solid data, how do groups make strategic business choices during times of turmoil?

It's relatively easy to look back at major industry shifts and pick out the winners. One might, for example, say that Apple recognized that digital music represented a major shift in media consumption and developed a strategy to capitalize on that development, a decision that has also lifted the company's computing fortunes in the rising digital tide.

But how are such strategic decisions made in the moment? 

This Harvard Business School Working Knowledge paper explores the role of recognition in group decision making, which the authors describe as "a class of cognitive processes through which a problem or situation is interpreted associatively in terms of something that has been experienced before." There is a lot in the paper, not all of which I understand, but the basic idea is that a better understanding of how groups exploit analogy can lead to an understanding of those big decisions.

The work would also appear to go to the nature of belief and as the authors themselves point out, might inform the fields of population ecology or stigmergy, which assemble those moments from the bottom up. From the top down, I've wondered in the past about the business principles of verse.