Exposing experience: A grounded theory study exploring the influence of experience on executive decision processes

by Jablow, Leon R., Iv, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 305 pages; 3542618


In the contemporary business environment, leaders are confronted with the increased challenges and unique demands stemming from temporal pressure, information volume, interconnectivity, and increased uncertainty and complexity in the decision-making process. Considering the dynamic nature of the contemporary decision-making environment, the effectiveness of traditional analytic decision processes faltered. Intuitive decision processes that included the variable of experience represented a potential viable alternative. However, a gap existed within the body of knowledge concerning intuitive decision processes and experience. The purpose of the qualitative grounded theory study was to develop theory regarding the role of experience as it influenced the decision-making processes of leaders. Relying on an interpretivist perspective, the study was conducted with the objective of creating understanding of how business leaders utilized experience in the decision-making process. Twenty-seven business leaders from the United States participated in the research by responding to a decision vignette and participating in structured and unstructured interviews. Data collected from the participants were analyzed and concepts were developed to provide theoretical stability for the theory that emerged. A nexus between experience, relationships, and decision making was discovered. The culmination of the research was the emergence of the relationship consequences theory of experience. The premise of the theory was that experience influenced the decision process of leaders by causing leaders to create awareness of the decision environment in terms of dynamic relationship consequences, which enabled leaders to adjust goals and anticipate future problems that may result from the decision. The implications of the emerged theory involved humanization of the decision process and trust relationships. The implications may have significant consequences related to competitive advantage, networked organizations, and the capacity of leaders to make effective decisions in a decision environment where experience creates a gap between business goals and relationship goals of the decision maker. Recommendations concerning future studies exploring the decision process in light of the relationship consequences theory of experience were presented. Additional recommendations concerning practical actions for business leaders were also provided.

AdviserKaren Bammel
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Occupational psychology; Cognitive psychology; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3542618

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