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Making Management Decisions: The Role of Intuition and Emotion

Herbert A. Simon
The Academy of Management Executive (1987-1989)
Vol. 1, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 57-64
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164720
Page Count: 8
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Making Management Decisions: The Role of Intuition and Emotion
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Abstract

Based on an invited address, "Behaving Like a Manager," as part of the All Academy Centennial/Anniversary Symposium of the national, annual meeting of the Academy of Management, this paper by Simon addresses the popular topic of the "rational" and "non-rational" components in the behavior of effective managers. Previous discussion of this topic has been hampered by the lack of a precise characterization of the nonrational components--specifically a characterization of the mechanisms of managerial judgment and intuition. Simon provides a description of intuitive and judgmental processes and a sketch of the evidence that is available to support this description. Further, his paper shows how intuition and judgment rest on extensive experience and knowledge; how, in fact, they can be understood in terms of the recognition of cues and the consequent evocation from memory of relevant experiences. In a final section of the paper, Simon discusses some of the pathologies commonly encountered in managerial behavior, both those produced by emotions and stress and those arising from the lack of appropriate habits--that is to say, of appropriate intuitive responses. This diagnosis leads Simon to some rather specific conclusions about the kinds of intuitions that need to be cultivated and habituated in organizations, and some of the ways in which they can be developed.

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