Management 'intuition': An interpretative account of structure and content of decision schemas using cognitive maps

I. Clarke, W. Mackaness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper, the structure and content of executive perceptions are considered using cognitive mapping to isolate 'intuitive' elements within their individual decision schemas. An inductive approach is used to develop three propositions drawn from the literature. These are explored using the results of interviews with senior executives of two UK retail organizations. Three of the maps represent different levels of seniority and roles and are used to explore potential differences within the organization, Similarities and differences between organizations are examined with reference to an additional map of an individual in a second organization.([1]) Propositions are interpreted and developed with reference to the maps and textual extracts from the interviews, to provide additional insight into the concept of intuition prior to larger-scale studies. The study highlights the need to explore differences in schemas both within and between different industry sectors. It emphasizes three important aspects of intuition as a way in which individuals 'cut through' a decision situation to make an 'unexplained' relationship between input and cognition without really thinking in-depth. First, they appear to trade-off depth for breadth of information. Second, they use personal experiences, surrogate indicators, and typologies to rationalize their decisions. Finally, the study shows there are important overlaps and differences in the content of decision schemas that represent ground for agreement and disagreement and as a basis for negotiating group decisions. These insights are used to redevelop and extend the propositions by way of conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-172
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • selective perception mental models strategy organization performance uncertainty formulation executives judgment biases


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