Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

10th Annual Conference of the Irish Academy of Management, Queens University, Belfast 3rd – 5th September, 2007.


The feeling of knowing without knowing has often been described as listening to your heart, trusting your gut, or using your intuition. As decision makers face more turbulent and complex environments, rational analysis may not always be able to assist in yielding optimal results. In cases where sufficient data is not available or the situation is one that the decision maker or the organisation has not faced before, the decision maker may utilise intuition to guide them through uncertainty (Lank & Lank 1995:19). This paper looks at the role that intuition plays in individual decision making in organisations. The primary research for the paper consisted of an examination of strategic decision situations with four key decision makers. For the purposes of this paper a strategic decision was defined as one ‘with important consequences and resource demands for the organisation’, (Nutt, 1998:198). Following analysis of the decisions researched, three hypotheses are put forward for discussion and exploration in future research. The basis for a conceptual model for the use of intuition in decision making is presented and discussed. The report’s findings conclude the following: intuition plays a key role in decision making in organisations; the use of intuition is linked to experience; decision makers in organisations use ‘informed’ intuition when making decision and rational decision making and intuition should be viewed as complementary components in decision making as opposed to mutually exclusive processes.