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Intuition in decision-making-a review of empirical research in the area of management

  • Poznan University of Economics and Business

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Reference literature and the practice of management show a growing interest in the use of intuition in decision-making, which becomes increasingly the object of empirical research. Current theoretical elaborations and research results do not propose a holistic approach to intuition. Authors most often focus on defining the concept of intuition, identifying its use in decision-making or determining its types. In recent years, however, we can observe increasingly complex methodical efforts of the authors to address the problem of the use of intuition in management practice. The aim of the paper is to systematize empirical research in the area of intuition in management, and to set its potential future directions. The article consists of three main parts. Part one identifies the reasons for the use of intuition in decision-making. Then, an attempt is made to define the ambiguous concept of intuition and to determine its characteristics. Finally, empirical research on the problem of intuition in management is synthetized and potential directions for future studies are identified. Keywords: intuition, decision-making process, management.
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The last author's version before publication. The article was published in:
Malewska, K. (2015). Intuition in decision making - a review of empirical research in the area of management.
W: S. Hittmar (red.), Theory of Management 8: The Selected Problems for the Development Support of
Management Knowledge Base (s. 165-170). Zilina: University of Zilina, Institute of Management by University
of Zilina.
Intuition in decision-making – a review of empirical research in the area of
Kamila Malewska
Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu
al. Niepodległości 10, 61-875 Poznań; Polska
Reference literature and the practice of management show a growing interest in the use of intuition in decision-making,
which becomes increasingly the object of empirical research. Current theoretical elaborations and research results do not
propose a holistic approach to intuition. Authors most often focus on defining the concept of intuition, identifying its use in
decision-making or determining its types. In recent years, however, we can observe increasingly complex methodical
efforts of the authors to address the problem of the use of intuition in management practice. The aim of the paper is to
systematize empirical research in the area of intuition in management, and to set its potential future directions.
The article consists of three main parts. Part one identifies the reasons for the use of intuition in decision-making. Then,
an attempt is made to define the ambiguous concept of intuition and to determine its characteristics. Finally, empirical
research on the problem of intuition in management is synthetized and potential directions for future studies are identified.
Keywords: intuition, decision-making process, management.
An ever more complex environment and its turbulent
changes make it more difficult or even impossible to make
strategic decisions whose logics would be in line with H.
Simon’s decision making model.Although there has been a
considerable progress over the last 50 years in the approach
to decision making arising from the development of methods
and techniques used in operational research and management
science, it applies primarily to well-structured
problems.Given a high degree of uncertainty and volatility of
the environment, managers make attempts in strategic
processes to solve qualitative and unstructured problems.It
makes them inclined to use intuition which provides a new
approach to problem solving and allows to make decisions
effectively when faced with information noise or insufficient
information.The assumption that it is reasonable to rely on
intuition in decision making processes does not provide any
grounds for disputing the sense of rationality in such
processes.Intuition should be an important constituent of an
effective decision making process which supplements
rational analysis; accordingly, such a process may not be
based solely on intuition.Without using intuition, the decision
maker will not be able to come up with creative solutions to
the problem. However, each of the resulting options in such
decision making should be subjected to a rational analysis at
a later stage of the process. Consequently, it may be
concluded that, in accordance with the Cognitive Continuum
Theory, rational and intuitive approaches to decision making
should be used jointly in management practice.This theory
allows to distinguish cognitive methods that relate to decision
making processes which are on the continuum between
rational analysis and intuition.There are five potential
methods of cognition depending on the degree to which they
focus on intuition or rationality. These are:the intuitive,
quasi-intuitive, adaptive, quasi-rational and rational
(analytical) methods.
Figure 1. Methods of cognition under the Cognitive Continuum Theory
Source:W.C. Allinson, J. Hayes, The cognitive Style Index. Technical Manual and User Guide, Pearson Education Ltd, UK 2012, p. 4.
By showing the advantage of mixed cognitive
methods (which combine intuition and analysis) over a pure
rational analysis or pure intuition, the Cognitive Continuum
Theory suggests that it is a mistake to oppose one to the
other (Hodkinson, Sadler-Smith, 2003, pp. 234-268). This is
because intuition is a necessary part of the complex decision
making process.It may be used in different ways and at
different stages of decision making; however, it plays a key
role in the process.
Reference literature suggests that the use of intuitive
potential in decision-making processes plays an important
role mainly on the strategic level (Clarke, Mackaness, 2001,
p. 148; Shapiro, Spence, 1997, p. 63). The usefulness of
intuition in decision making processes, especially at the
strategic level, is proved by the features of intuitive
decisions such as:viewing problems from a comprehensive
and synthetic perspective, evaluating potential solutions
quickly which allows to reject those options which are
considered to be inappropriate, generating unconventional
ideas which are necessary to gain a competitive edge on the
market, or trying to identify problems in the future rather
than in the present time which allows to take a long-term
perspective that is necessary in strategic management.The
importance of intuition in strategic management is
emphasized by H. Simon and P. Drucker.In accordance with
H. Simon’s “technology of foolishness” people are
sometimes forced to act before giving any consideration to
their actions.The author believes intuition to be a significant
element of an effective strategic decision making process,
while patterns and experience may lead to wrong decisions
(Simon, 1987). Another author, Peter Drucker believes that
a good decision cannot be made unless untraditional
approaches are used, unconventional questions are
formulated and solutions are accepted which are not always
logical, and this involves the use of intuition in strategic
decision making (Drucker, 1993).
In order to act effectively, today’s managers are
required to analyse their problem using modern analytical
techniques as well as being able to respond quickly. In order
to do that, they need to strengthen and improve their
intuitive skills.Managers do not choose between a rational
and intuitive approach to a problem which they need to
solve. Instead, they use a whole range of managerial
skills.However, the characteristics of the environment in
which modern organisations operate such as complexity,
variability, unpredictability and the conditions in which
decisions are made under the pressure of time and with
incomplete information, force managers to rely on intuition
more than rationality in their decision making(Tokarski
2001, p 266).Therefore, it can be concluded that managers
of those organisations which succeed in securing a lasting
advantage on a competitive market use their intuitive skills
more compare with other organisations.
Reference literature and the practice of management
show a growing interest in the use of intuition in decision-
making, which becomes increasingly the object of empirical
research. Current theoretical elaborations and research
results do not propose a holistic approach to intuition. In
recent years, however, we can observe increasingly complex
methodical efforts of the authors to address the problem of
the use of intuition in management practice. The aim of the
paper is to systematize empirical research in the area of
intuition in management, and to set its potential future
The article consists of three main parts. Part one
identifies the reasons for the use of intuition in decision-
making. Then, an attempt is made to define the ambiguous
concept of intuition and to determine its characteristics.
Finally, empirical research on the problem of intuition in
management is synthetized and potential directions for
future studies are identified.
The essence of intuition
A rising interest in the use of intuition in decision
making processes which has been witnessed since late
1990s is a consequence of a relatively low effectiveness of
the traditional decision making models that do not allow to
predict behaviours and events, and of scientific
achievements in evolutionary psychology showing the role
and importance of intuition.There are diverse opinions in the
literature on the subject about the significance of intuition in
problem solving processes. They range from extremely
negative views, where intuition is treated as a source of
error, to the extremely positive opinions that emphasize its
important role, especially in creative processes.Although
there are diverse opinions on the significance of intuition in
decision making processes, intuition now ceases to be
perceived from the angle of mysticism, the non-scientific
and irrationalism. The phenomenon of intuition starts to be
analysed and verified empirically.Empirical research into
intuition was conducted at the turn of the 20th and 21st
century mainly outside of the scope of management science
disciplines (it was primarily part of such disciplines as
psychology and neuroscience), and the very few such
projects that were undertaken in the area of management
science provided contradictory results which failed to offer
an entirely satisfactory response to the questions of what
intuition is, what are the conditions in which it appears and
whether it can be used to make the right choices.The first
empirical research and the resulting attempts to define the
characteristics of intuition were undertaken in late 1990s
and at the beginning of the new millennium mainly in the
US.Research in this area can be seen to have intensified
over the recent years and is becoming more and more
complex in terms of the methodology. It shows the
importance of the problem for management practice.
There is no single, universal and generally
acknowledged definition of intuition in the literature on
management and psychology. However, all authors agree
that intuition is a comprehensive and nonlinear method of
decision making.To conceptualise and operationalize
intuition is a serious problem for management
theoreticians.This results mainly from the ambiguity of the
term, but also from an assumption, which is generally made,
that knowledge is valuable only when it is open and
objective (devoid of subjective feelings and emotions),
exists in the awareness and can be subjected to introspection
(Hodgkinson, Sadler-Smith, 2003, pp. 243-268). Besides,
authors underline that intuition is a problematic concept, as
there are too many interpretations, constituents and factors
affecting the ability of an individual to use it (environment,
experience, training, ability to obtain new information as
well as restoring and reconstructing the information one
already has).Controversy concerning the definition of
intuition relates to many of its aspects, namely, its
characteristics, range, the homogeneity of this phenomenon,
the mechanisms by which it arises, its impact on the
accuracy of choices and the relationship between intuition
and experience.
Table 1
Selected definitions of intuition
Author Definition Characteristics of intuition
Intuition is a rational process by which the
brain revives memory records and past
experiences to relate them to a current
problem. The author argues that intuition is
not a process that operates independently of
analysis; rather the two processes are
essential complementary components of
effective decision-making systems (Simon,
1987, p. 61).
- it is a rational process of thinking,
- it refers to past experience (the ability to use gained
knowledge in the process of solving current problems),
- it is an important component of an effective decision-making
Shapiro, Spence
A non-conscious, holistic processing mode
in which judgements are made with no
awareness of the rules of knowledge used for
inference and which can feel right, despite
one’s disability to articulate the reason
(Shapiro, Spence, 1997, p. 64).
- it is a process that occurs in the subconscious,
- it may increase the effectiveness of decision-making
Intuition is a rational and logical brain skill
that can be used to help guide decision-
making. The author assumes that intuition is
a result of the data collected in the initial
phase of the decision-making process, taking
the form of both facts and feelings (Agor,
1989, p. 15).
- it is a rational process of thinking,
- it supports effective implementation of a decision-making
- it is a result of numerous data (both facts and feelings)
Burke, Miller A cognitive conclusion based on a decision- - it is a result of a decision-maker’s experience and feelings
1999 maker’s previous experiences and emotional
inputs (Burke, Miller, 1999, p. 92).
(there is a linear correlation between these variables)
Intuitions are typically expressed as
approximate judgements, and often
experienced in the form of feelings instead
of words. This process occurs quickly and a
decision-maker has a sense of confidence in
the resulting solution. Thoughts that are
reached with little apparent effort, and
typically without conscious awareness; they
involve little or no conscious deliberation
(we know something, but do not know why)
(Hogarth, 2001, pp. 9-21).
- it takes the form of feelings,
- the speed of the process implementation,
- it occurs without the participation of consciousness,
- it takes little effort,
- the process results in obtaining knowledge
Intuition is the way in which we translate our
experience into action to assess and
consequently make decisions using patterns
that help us recognize the situation and
typical action scenarios. Once a decision-
maker recognizes the pattern of the situation,
he or she instantly knows what decision to
make (Klein, 2003, p. 13).
- it is based on experience and the ability to translate it into
- it refers to familiar patterns and prototypes,
Dane, Pratt
Affectively charged judgments that arise
through rapid, non-conscious, and holistic
associations [Dane, Pratt 2007, p. 35].
- the speed of the process implementation,
- it takes place in the subconscious,
Intuition is an unintentional, difficult-to-
express, affectively charged process of
cognition or evaluation of a decision-making
situation based on knowledge and
experience. This process is fast and is based
on a holistic, synthetic recognition of a
problem without deliberate, conscious and
rational thinking (Sadler-Smith, 2008, p. 31).
- the process is involuntary (unconscious)
- it is affectively charged,
- the speed of the process implementation,
- it is based on experience and previously acquired knowledge,
Intuition is a process of thinking. The input
to this process is mostly provided by
knowledge stored in long-term memory that
has been primarily acquired via associative
learning. The input is processed
automatically and without conscious
awareness. The output of the process is a
feeling that can serve as a basis for
judgments and decisions (Betsch, 2008, p.
- it is based on knowledge accumulated in long-term memory,
- The process runs without conscious awareness,
Thoughts and preferences that come to mind
quickly and without much reflection
(Kahneman, Klein 2009).
- the speed of this intuitive process implementation,
- no participation of consciousness,
Source: own elaboration.
Concluding the definitions presented in the table, we
may identify common threads in defining the concept of
intuition that are shared by most researchers dealing with
this problem. The threads, including specific criteria, are
listed in the table below.
Table 2
Common threads in defining the concept of intuition shared by leading researchers dealing with the problem of intuition
Criterion Common issues in defining the concept of intuition
(characteristics of intuition)
Consciousness / the subconscious
(the course of the process)
Intuition is a process of thinking that occurs, at least in part, without the participation of
Time and effort taken by the process The intuitive process runs automatically (without any effort on the part of a decision-maker)
The relationship between intuition
and experience
Intuition is based on experience and the ability to translate it into action (this process is based on
knowledge structures formulated through various kinds of learning)
The impact on decisions It supports effective implementation of a decision-making process (it is an essential element of
effective decision-making)
The effect of the process The use of intuition leads to acquiring knowledge (it may take the form of feelings, signals or
Source: own elaboration.
On the basis of literature studies, the characteristics of
managerial intuition can include as follows
(Adamkiewicz-Drwiłło, Jankowska-Mihułowicz, 2008, pp.
intuition bears the features of a discovery, no
matter what it refers to,
intuition operates with a significant delay with
respect to the time at which a decision-maker has
identified a problem and analysed information on
it (because it is not recommended to rush in
strategic decision-making),
breaking patterns of thinking activates intuition,
using symbols activates intuition,
intuition is sometimes unreliable, especially when
it is used in areas where a decision maker does not
have the knowledge and experience,
intuition is a mental activity common for all
people, but intuitive cognition occurs with varying
intensity (it is higher in children, writers, scholars,
while managerial intuition increases proportionally
to the management level),
in intuitive cognition, even the first view becomes
a conviction, contrary to the case of rational
intuitive cognition is characterized by: a holistic
approach, impermanence, dependence on existing
knowledge and experience, difficulty in restoring
the cognitive process, incomplete communication,
the inability to justify the proposed solution and
rely on credible sources or correctness of
reasoning and inference,
intuitive cognition is non-verbal, pictorial,
symbolic, emotional and spontaneous.
Analyzing the above reflections on intuition the
following definition of managerial intuition can be adopted,
according to which it is the ability to indicate a method for
solving a decision problem, and the accompanying feeling
that the solution is correct, with no evidence to support it.
Thus, it means understanding, learning or acquiring
knowledge without rational inference. Intuition is not a
denial of logical thinking, but it involves the use of rules
other than logical inference in the process of thinking.
Empirical research on intuition
Intuition is becoming the subject of empirical research
more and more often.However, the purpose of most of such
research is to identify persons who use intuition in decision
making or to carry out research from a psychological
perspective.The table below attempts to systematise
empirical research on intuition in the area of management.
Table 3
Summary of empirical studies on the problem of intuition in management
Author and year of
Subject and object of research Cognitive results
The way of perceiving and the process of
recognizing a decision problem. The
research was conducted in large
organizations in the United States.
Top-level managers (80% of respondents) are aware of serious management
problems before their first symptoms are visible. According to the
respondents, intuition is the source of this knowledge (Lyles, Mitroff, 1980,
The object of the study was decision-
making at the strategic level. The research
was conducted among companies on the
list of Fortune (500 largest companies in
terms of revenues from sales).
Based on the research, the author has formulated the following conclusions:
- experienced managers rarely use the rational model of decision-making,
- in practice, they solve several decision problems at the same time,
- In the case of quantitative data, managers find it difficult to precisely
determine correlations between variables,
- they use elements of both rational and intuitive approaches in decision-
making (Isenberg, 1984,pp. 81-90).
1985, research continued
in 1994
The research was into CEST (Cognitive
Experiential Self-Theory) according to
which the cognitive process is either
rational (analytical) or empirical
CEST belongs to the group of dual process theories.Under this theory
individuals perceive reality in a dual way: rational (analytical) and empirical
(intuitive).The author gave priority to intuitive cognition.According to CEST,
in response to a task which is emotionally important to an individual he or she
automatically relies on the intuitive system looking for similar events with the
accompanying feelings in the subconscious (Epstein, 1985, pp. 283-
310).Although the author does not use the term intuition or premonition, he
argues that the empirical system which is the opposite of the rational one
refers directly to intuition as its significant subset (Epstein, 2008, pp. 23-37).
The research was into how intuition is
used in strategic decision making.The
author researched top managers.
Based on his research, the author identified three methods of using intuition in
the decision making process (Agor, 1998, pp. 206-207):
- The majority of the managers claimed that they allow intuition to work and
generate a maximum number of various solutions.These managers do not use
the traditional decision making model.
- The second largest group of managers relied on a structured decision making
system comprised of such stages as generally accepted in literature.Intuition
was used by those managers in the background as it were and its role was not
so much to create ideas, but to integrate.
- The third group of managers were those who developed their own
techniques of using intuition in decision making, e.g. some of the managers
used intuition in relation to those problems which did not require a
decision.(Malewska, 2010, pp 126-141).
The objective of the research was to find The results of Parikh’s research were, to a significant extent, descriptive
Similar reserach was
also carried out by Burk
and Miller 1999
the answers to the following
questions:What does the term intuition
mean?How can it be identified?What is its
role?What are the situations in which
intuition is used most frequently?
On the other hand, Burk and Miller aimed
to determine the specificity of intuition,
methods of improving it, and, similarly to
Parikh, to find out in which situations and
how often it is used.60 top managers from
the leading US companies were
lacking author’s independent conclusions and theoretical generalisations
(Parikh, Neubauer, Lank, 1994).On the other hand, Burk and Miller offered a
number of tips on the use of intuition, especially in a situation where it should
be used, i.e.:uncertainty, a situation when a rational analysis appears to be
insufficient and needs to be balanced by information from other sources, or
where there is a lack of clear guidance and selection criteria (Burke, Miller,
1999, pp. 91-99).
The research was on decision making
strategies used by specialists in relation to
unstructured and complex tasks in
uncertain conditions and under time
As a result of his research the author formulated the RPD (Recognition-
Primed Decision) model.In this model specialists acting under time pressure
and face with uncertainty are assumed to be able to make effective decisions
without any conscious and complex analysis by relying on experience and
finding certain patterns of behaviour in the subconscious which were followed
in similar situations in the past.At the same time, the author emphasises that
intuition and experience enrich the conscious and unconscious knowledge and
skills thus affecting directly the quality of the decision maker’s analyses
(Klein, 1998).
Khatri and Ng
The research was into the use of intuition
in strategic decision making using an
example of organisations from three
The author’s research was the first to investigate the relationship between the
use of intuition and organisational efficiency.The authors justified their choice
of the topic and organisations by the fact that previous publications were
rather academic, while their intention was to obtain results which could be
applied (Khatri, Ng, 2000, p. 57).
The object of the study was the
relationship between the use of intuition in
decision-making processes and the form of
business ownership.
The conducted research has led to the following cognitive results:
- managers taking the right decisions in non-state enterprises are more willing
to include intuition to a rational decision-making process than managers of
other companies,
- the author has falsified a hypothesis, according to which managers of state-
owned enterprises do not accept intuitive decisions,
- the non-state sector (more efficient) uses intuition in decision-making more
frequently than state-owned enterprises,
- the accuracy of intuitive decision-making increases with experience, but
depends on a number of factors such as the nature of a manager’s experience
at the start of his or her career (Tokarski, 2001, pp. 272-273).
The object of the study was decision-
making in management (the research was
conducted in the United States).
Analytical decision-making was more popular among respondents than
intuitive decision-making. Factors that determined the choice of approach to
decision-making were: the type of problem, the nature of a decision, the
situational context and the personality of a decision-maker (Sinclair,
Ashkanasy, 2002, pp. 32-40).
The main objective of the study was to
determine the premises that guide
decision-makers in the decision making
process and the level of knowledge about
how to use intuition in decision-making.
The study has shown that the majority of respondents make decisions based
on objective factors (data, indices). Managers sporadically take into account
subjective factors when making choices such as emotions or intuition.
Intuition to the greatest extent was used at a strategic level, and the least at the
operational level (Oblac, Lipuscek, 2003, pp. 181-196).
The research was on the meaning of
feelings and premonition in decision
making (the author also discussed so-
called affective heuristic).
The strength of the author's research is in the finding of the link between
affective heuristic and dual process theories (notably Epstein's CEST).Slovic
made a point that there are rational elements in both the empirical and the
rational system suggested by Epstein.Therefore, he used the word analytical
with reference to the rational system.In his research, the author was trying to
prove that affective heuristic is the main part of the empirical (intuitive) way
of thinking and is probably the dominant risk assessment method (Slovic at
al., 2004, pp. 311-322).Slovic’s discussions integrate and synthesise earlier
achievements and research on intuition.
The research was on decision making in
relation to credit services in the banking
sector.The authors researched 14
managers who were making loan decisions
in a large Israeli commercial bank
Results of the research prove that, when making loan decisions, the managers
took account of data arising from rational analyses as well as information
resulting from their feeling or an impression the borrower made on the
lender.Furthermore, it is worth noting that the information from non-
analytical sources turned out to be more significant that the information
arising from rational cognitive processes (Lipshitz R.,Shulimovitz, 2007, pp.
The role of experience in decision-making
(its impact on the choice of rational or
intuitive approaches). The research was
conducted in the United States.
The study has proved the existence of a linear correlation between intuition
and experience of a decision-maker. More experienced managers are more
willing to apply the intuitive rather than the rational approach (Pretz, 2008).
The author studied the methods of
decision-making among top-managers (the
comparative research was conducted in the
United States and Hungary)
The author divided respondents into two groups: entrepreneurs (owners,
founders) and managerial staff. Both groups in the early stages of decision-
making prefer analytical approaches, while making the final choices, they are
guided by the intuitive approach. The process of setting goals is different.
Entrepreneurs set goals, and only later analyse the resource capabilities of
1Similar research into the relationship between the use of intuition and the functioning of organisations in various areas was also carried out by: Sadler-
Smith (2004) on small businesses; Houghl and Ogilvie (2005) on preferences in strategic decision making; Leybourne and Sadler-Smith (2006) on
project management; Ritchie (2007) on non-profit organisations; Elbanne and Child (2007) on effectiveness of strategic decisions.
their organization. However, in the case of managers, goals are dependent on
their company’s resource capabilities (Paprika 2008,pp. 20-28).
The research was into the decision making
process that uses intuition.The researcher
investigated 19 presidents of oil
As a result of her research, the author formulated a strategic decision making
model which took into account both rational analysis and intuition.The
interaction between analysis and intuition in this model is about two central
processes:integration by essentials (first rules are formulated which affect the
efficiency of another process) and spiralling (Woiceshyn, 2009, p. 300).
Further research resulted in a model of ethical decision making which takes
account of the interaction between intuition and analysis by formulating,
invoking and applying moral principles necessary for a long-term success.
Dane and Pratt
Similar research aimed
at identifying various
types of intuition was
carried out by
Glockner and
The purpose of the research was to
identify types of intuition.
As a result of their research the authors identified three types of intuition
(Dane, Pratt, 2009, pp. 1-40):problem solving intuition which relates to the
process of matching certain previously known patterns of behaviour, feelings
which arise from the process of compiling the decision maker's knowledge in
a new and unconventional way, and moral intuition.
Glockner and Witteman criticised dual process models for failing to
distinguish methods of cognition beyond the division into rational and
intuitive.This is why they suggested that intuition be divided into:associative
intuition, matching intuition, accumulative intuition and constructive intuition
(Glockner, Witteman, 2010, pp. 1-25).
and Klein
The research was into the determinants of
effective use of intuition in decision
making processes.
Kahneman and Klein determined the boundary conditions between intuitive
expertise and subjective evaluation (Kahneman D., Klein, 2009, pp. 515-526)
while Salas identified the factors of effective practical use of intuition.They
included the level of expertise and the decision maker’s information
processing style, structure of the task, availability of feedback, features of the
decision making situation and the environment in which the decision is being
made (Salas et al, 2010, pp. 941-973).The authors expressed their view that
further research into expert intuition is needed.
The object of this research was the
relationship between the intuitive way of
decision-making and factors influencing
decision-making such as time, uncertainty,
risk, level of information. The research
was conducted in Malaysia among
university researchers.
A vast majority of respondents claimed that in most cases they based their
decisions on intuition. The study has demonstrated a relationship between the
method of decision-making, the level of information and the degree of risk
acceptance. The correlation between the method of decision-making, the time
within which a decision-maker must make a decision and the level of
uncertainty has not been confirmed (Hon-Tat, Ai-Chin, Hooi, Rasli,
Abdullah, Chye, 2001,pp. 231-236).
The object of the study was the level of
intuitive abilities (the research was carried
out in Malaysia and the United States).
American managers have significantly better intuitive skills compared to
Malaysian managers (it applies to all levels of management and to both
sexes). Furthermore, it can be stated that Malaysian decision-makers
definitely prefer analytical approaches (Oluwabusyi, 2011, pp. 13-20).
Hensman and Sadler-
The research was into the intuitive process
of decision making in the financial
sector.The researchers investigated 15 top
managers who had a lot of professional
Results of the research showed that there is a relationship between the use of
intuition in decision making processes and (Hensman, Sadler-Smith, 2011,
pp. 51-66):
the nature of the task and the conditions in which intuition is used
(uncertainties, time pressure);
individual traits of the decision maker (experience, self-
organisational context (team dynamics, organisational culture and hierarchy)
The scope of the research included an
analysis of respondents' opinions about the
frequency of intuitive decision-making,
their effectiveness and causes. The
subjects of the research were employees
and entrepreneurs from the north-eastern
The research conclusions are as follows:
- the majority of surveyed managers do not negate the usefulness of intuitive
decisions in business,
- the majority of respondents believe that the effectiveness of intuition in
business depends on the nature of decisions and the scope of business
- a third of respondents have expressed the opinion that intuition is often used
in his or her work,
- 45% of respondents have assessed the effectiveness of intuitive decisions
above average,
- the main reason for the use of intuition in decision-making practice, in the
opinion of respondents, is the need to work under pressure of time, rather than
lack of information, as assumed by the author (Kowalewski, 2012, p 517).
La Pira
The purpose of the research was to gain a
better understanding of the use of intuition
in management practice, to explain what
the term means and to answer the question
whether businesspeople who run several
effectively operating types of business are
more inclined to use intuition in decision
making compared with a businessperson
who runs one type of business or with
The author used the cognitive style index to determine the degree of
rationality and intuitiveness in decision making.Results of the research prove
that so-called multiple entrepreneurs are more inclined to use intuition in
decision making compared with entrepreneurs who run one kind of business
(i.e. average ones); and the latter use more intuition than managers.It will be
noted that average scores of both multiple and ordinary entrepreneurs were in
the intuitive part of the scale that illustrated the style of decision making.On
the other hand, an average score of managers was on the side of the rational
decision making process(La Pira, 2012, pp. 5-11).
The object of the study was the
management of intuition. The aim of the
research was to analyse the managerial
intuition management process in business,
and develop and assess the managerial
intuition management system. The study
As a result of the research, the author has developed a concept of intuition
management system in enterprises. The basic processes which, according to
the author, should be included in the framework of an effective intuition
management system are: identifying the problem of intuitive abilities of
managers, determining the level of intuitive abilities needed for various
positions, recruiting managers with the desired capabilities. In addition, the
included companies in the Silesian
author has placed the developed managerial intuition management system in
the system of human resource management, and proposed its construction in
the cross-functional and subjective sections (Jędrzejczyk, 2013, p. 285).
Source: own elaborationbased on K. Malewska (2013). Intuicja w badaniach empirycznych z zakresu zarządzania, Zeszyty Naukowe
Politechniki Łódzkiej, Organizacja i Zarządzanie, nr 52, Wydawnictwo Politechniki Łódzkiej, Łódź, pp. 15-27.
Certain recommendations are put forward in the
literature on the subject concerning future research on
intuition.Accordingly, it is recommended that (Akinci,
Sadler-Smith, 2012, pp. 105-122):
a more cautious approach is taken when
formulating the theoretical framework (empirical research
on intuition over the recent years made it possible to define
intuition a little more precisely.Although the term is not
defined in an entirely unambiguous way, there are a number
of its universally accepted characteristics.It is suggested that
the theoretical framework of the topic should be defined
carefully since even the slightest mistake could lead to a
regression in the understanding of the complex issue of
there should be more integration and
interdisciplinary cooperation in empirical research (research
on intuition has progressed as management theoreticians
took a wider interdisciplinary perspective;further progress in
the area can be achieved through cooperation between
cognitive scientists and neuroscientists);
there is a stricter methodological discipline and
pluralism (research on intuition in 1990s, which was
predominantly concerned with the way in which information
is obtained and processes, was carried out by individual
researchers independently and separately from parallel and
similar methodological pursuits.As a result, research
instruments were repeated which were frequently based on
disputable theoretical foundations.It is recommended that
scientists cooperate more and use earlier achievements in
the area;it is also suggested that more creative methods of
analysing intuition are sought, e.g. keeping intuition diaries
in which any manifestations of intuition are recorded,
combining interviews with neuroimagination techniques);
paying more attention to analytical and
statistical issues (a vast majority of research on intuition has
so far been conducted in relation to an individual in the
context of how and to what degree he or she uses
intuition.However, in order to understand and improve the
ability to process information necessary to formulate
strategies, whether at the level of individual business units
or the corporation, it is required that the focus is on intuition
as a multifaceted phenomenon which applies not only to
individuals, but also to groups and entire organisations.
Modern scholars believe that the subconscious mind
is the source of significant discoveries. Therefore not only
scientists, but also team leaders and supervisors choosing
the optimal management solutions should refer to intuitive
process, which occurs within the subconscious mind
(Wodecka-Hyjek, Gach, 2003, s. 36). It should be noted,
however, that in an economy dominated by information and
knowledge, analysis ceases to be the sole and sufficient
source of knowledge. Managers seek alternative ways of
obtaining and interpreting information and knowledge.
Here, managerial intuitive potential begins to play an
important role.
As previously mentioned in the paper, intuition
becomes increasingly the subject of empirical research. The
first publications (primarily in English) on the use of
intuition in decision-making have come out in recent years.
The present achievements, however, lack systematization
and holistic approach to the issue of intuition in
management. They are just a conglomeration of various
scientific investigations, which indicates the initial stage of
the research.
It follows from the discussion above that there is a
cognitive gap as far as the use of rational analysis and
intuition in decision making at the same time is
concerned.Also, there is a lack of research into the effect of
intuition on the accuracy of strategic choices, and thus also
on the effectiveness of organisations. Therefore, it seems
justifiable to seek answers to the question about relation
between the use of intuition in the process of making
decisions and their effectiveness, the factors in the use of
intuition in strategic decision-making processes, the
individual stages which make up the strategic decision
making process that combines intuition and rational
analysis, the stage of the strategic decision making process
in which intuition play a significant role.
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