Executives' Attributes in High-Stakes Decision-Making: A Case Study Open Access
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This qualitative, exploratory case study addressed the research question: What is the interplay of executive group members' deep-level attributes in the process of high-stakes decision-making in one global organization? The study responded to Lawrence's (1997) call to explore the "black box of organizational demography" through the exploration of subjective concepts such as beliefs, cognitions, and values and their relationships within research models. As such, it sought to further the understanding of the influence of executive group members' surface- and deep-level (underlying) attributes while engaged in promotion and selection of internal candidates to higher levels of leadership within one regional business unit of a global organization. The research used executive groups, leadership, and decision-making literature as its basis, and its results inform practice related to executive groups, decision-making, and selection.The study offered seven conclusions. (1) The definition of deep-level attributes requires revision. (2) Beliefs are not deep-level attributes, but result from the interplay between surface-level attributes and values. (3) Cognitions are generated from the interplay of beliefs and the decision-making context. (4) Executive groups appear to function best when both homogeneity and heterogeneity are present simultaneously. (5) The CEO has a more substantial and pervasive influence on the executive group decision-making process than any other member of the executive group. (6) The conceptual frame for this study required revision to fully understand "interplay." (7) Decision-making executive groups are flexible in structure. The study offered recommendations related to theory, practice, and future research.