Purpose - The purpose of this article is to better understand the nature of the decision maker's cognitive-affective information processing behavior in the context of strategic decision making. Design/methodology/approach - Reviews of the psychological science, organizational behavior, and strategic management literatures serve as a foundation for the development of a model and a series of research propositions. Propositions and model development lead to a discussion regarding limitations of the current literature, as well as areas for future research that incorporates cognitive-affective information processing issues in organizational research. Findings - Organizational homogeneous and heterogeneous behaviors in the organizational adaptation process depend on a strategic decision maker's cognitive-affective informational interpretation of both internal and external environmental stimuli. Research limitations/implications - The focus of this article is limited to the individual level of analysis. Further theoretical and empirical research should investigate how the framework could be applied at the team and organizational levels and how it holds under various industrial and/or environmental conditions. Practical implications - This article informs practicing managers of how their decision-making behavior is influenced by both cognition and affect when they scan and process their strategic informational environment and, furthermore, how these influence their choice of organizational forms and practices. Originality/value - Extends theoretical understanding of cognitive-affective informational processing and its influence on the organizational homogeneous-heterogeneous adaptation process.