Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 11: Capturing intuitions in decision making: a case for the Critical Incident Technique
Based on a critique of rationality and an acknowledgement of its limits (e.g., Simon, 1987), researchers have turned their attention to more tacit and implicit ways of knowing and learning (e.g., Tsoukas, 2003). In this respect, intuition has received increased attention in management research (see Akinci & Sadler-Smith, 2012) due to its significance for and potential impact on strategic decision making (Behling & Eckel, 1991; Burke & Miller, 1999; Dane & Pratt, 2007; Hodgkinson et al., 2008; Miller & Ireland, 2005; Sadler-Smith & Shefy, 2004; Simon, 1987; Sinclair & Ashkanasy, 2005). A growing number of researchers have argued that intuitive judgement plays an important role in decision making and is the key to effective organizational outcomes under particular sets of circumstances (Agor, 1984, 1986; Hayashi, 2001; Isenberg, 1984; Khatri & Ng, 2000; Parikh et al., 1994; Shapiro & Spence, 1997). Simon (1987: 63) asserted that intuitions ‘are simply analysis frozen into habit and into the capacity for rapid response through recognition’, thereby emphasizing the experience-based nature of intuition. Dane and Pratt (2007: 40), on the other hand, highlighted the ‘gut-feel’ nature of intuitions defining them as ‘affectively charged judgments that arise through rapid, nonconscious, and holistic associations’, echoing Polanyi’s (1966: 4) assertion that ‘we can know more than we can tell’.
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