An Experimental Study of Executive Decision-making with Implications for Decision Support
Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce
Past research in the field of information systems has explored factors and conditions that are relevant to decision-making in many contexts. However, very little is known about how executives consider, weigh, and integrate these factors. One current school of thought holds that intuition and instincts can play a significant role and that when decision-makers use their instincts, they rely on only a relatively small subset of the cues available to them. This has implications for designing and improving decision support systems, which form a major and widespread element of modern organizational computing. We examine the decision-making policies of professional decision-makers. High level information technology executives were asked to evaluate the likelihood of making a strategic investment in the face of varying environmental scenarios. Using policy-capturing methodology, we find differences between what the executives thought was important to their decision-making and what is revealed as actually being important. In addition, we find that personal characteristics of risk-taking propensity and innovativeness affect the way the decision-makers integrate information. We argue that the idiosyncratic nature of the executive-environment relationship calls for increased emphasis on developing suitably adapted decision support systems (e.g., business intelligence systems) for executive decision-making.