Exploring Intuition and its Role in Managerial Decision Making

Advanced Analytic Techniques


Exploring Intuition And Its Role In Managerial Decision Making
Erik Dane, Michael G. Pratt. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This paper, as the title states, tackles how intuition plays a role in the decision-making process for managers and how the ability to use intuition can impact managers at different levels. 
The authors make note of prior research within the introduction that indicates how intuition has played a critical role in differentiating successful top executives and board members from lower-level managers and dysfunctional boards (Dane & Pratt, 2007).   Dane and Pratt identify the different types of thinking regarding intuition and how some researchers suggest intuition is about outcomes, or that intuition is a process, while others combine the two without differentiation (Dane & Pratt, 2007).
The paper identifies over 15 different definitions for intuition and ultimately decide on the following definition to be used within the context of the paper: “affectively charged judgments that arise through rapid, nonconscious, and holistic associations” (Dane & Pratt, 2007 p.40).   The authors discuss factors that can influence intuition decision making such as types of learning, environmental uncertainty, practice, and domain knowledge.  The authors indicate that implicit learning potentially results in increased effectiveness of intuitive decision making for managers.
The implications, the authors suggest, note that intuitive thinking can be effective for managers within their industries.  Managers should foster environments that can enhance implicit learning due to the suggested research ties between implicit learning and enhanced intuition through developing nonconscious processes.  Some downfalls noted by the authors occur when managers move positions. Particularly when managers switch industries and their environment changes and expert knowledge decreases, potentially resulting in less effective intuitive decision making. The question arises of how different does context have to be in order to negate the relevance of cognitive schemas (Dane & Pratt, 2007)?  Therefore, organizations should be wary of new managers using intuition for decision making if they do not have experience in the industry/occupation (Dane & Pratt, 2007).
Critique:
I feel the paper was interesting in exploring the different types of research around intuition, to include the abundance of differing definitions.  However, the paper was just a literature review and seemingly not offering much in terms of their own research.  I think it could have benefited greatly from some type of empirical study of mid and potentially top-level managers utilizing intuition-based decision making.
Dane, E., Pratt, M. (2007). Exploring Intuition And Its Role in Managerial Decision Making. Academy of Management Review. Vol. 32, No. 1; 33-54. Retrieved from http://homepages.se.edu/cvonbergen/files/2012/12/EXPLORING-INTUITION-AND-ITS-ROLE-IN-MANAGERIAL-DECISION-MAKING1.pdf