Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series
Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 13: Dialogical inquiry: a qualitative method for studying intuition in the field
Intuition has now emerged as a legitimate topic of inquiry in management (Dane & Pratt, 2007; Sinclair & Ashkanasy, 2005). Chief executive officers recognize that it plays a crucial role in strategic decision making. Bob Lutz, for instance, attributed what he considered to be his biggest strategic decision at the helm of Chrysler, the development of the Dodge Viper, to an intuitive insight (Hayashi, 2001). A majority of managers themselves report that they use intuition (Burke & Miller, 1999), and the higher they get on the professional ladder, the more often they do so (Sadler-Smith & Shefy, 2004). In crisis situations, good intuition can make the difference between corporate survival and demise (Mitroff, 2004; Sayegh et al., 2004). In response to popular enthusiasm for this elusive topic, researchers have started to define and theorize on intuition. For instance, Sinclair and Ashkanasy (2005: 357) define it as a non-sequential information processing mode, which comprises both cognitive and affective elements and results in direct knowing without any use of conscious reasoning. Similarly, Dane and Pratt (2007: 40) conceptualize intuition as a rapid, non-conscious process that produces affectively charged judgments through holistic associations. While considerable theoretical progress has occurred in the study of intuition, there is still great room for progress in the empirical realm (Hodgkinson et al., 2008). Part of the problem has been that it is very difficult to capture this phenomenon, particularly in the field.
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