This study investigated the influences of personal value systems and risk propensities on managerial decision-making quality during value clashes. The post-globalisation business landscape is impacted by role players of vastly differing personal attributes, hypothesised to have varying influences on decision-making behaviour. A deeper understanding of how these attributes impact decision-making quality will therefore enrich the literature and arm practitioners with improved decision-making skills.
A review of behavioural decision-making literature revealed three core approaches: the normative (prescriptive) perspective, focussed on decision analysis, the cognitive limitations perspective highlighting the boundaries of human cognition and the psychological (values/emotions/motivations) perspective allowing for ethical- or value-boundedness. The extant literature contributes little on the quality of decision-making exhibited by managers, or how to improve it. It also doesn’t consider variance in decision-making between groups defined by personal value and risk traits. This study therefore aimed to establish whether decision-making quality varied with variances in personal attributes, and whether an intervention would improve decision-making behaviour.
The research, conducted on a sample of 460 South African managers, established the demographics and value- and risk orientations of the participating group. Three value clashing scenarios, incorporating social-relational framing interventions, where introduced to gauge the decision-making behaviour of the test subjects. Decision-making quality was assessed through the integrative complexity measure and qualitative assessments were conducted on the decision motivation texts.
Decision-tree analyses, multiple regression analyses as well as T-tests comparing the decision-quality produced by individuals of opposing orientations, revealed a clear relationship between the value segments of self-enhancement and openness to change and higher quality decision-making. Social risk-taking was related to better decision-making and reframing the scenarios produced better decision-making quality responses, if the reframing was done harshly enough. The qualitative analysis supported these findings, but hinted at additional, context specific decision motivators.
This study contributed an integrated view of decision-making literature, tested the application of integrative complexity as a measure of decision quality and introduced new perspectives on how value orientations, risk proclivities and scenario framing relate to decision-making quality. Practitioners can apply this to assess individuals in terms of their decision-making abilities, and can improve decision-making quality in managers through scenario re-framing.