Intuition or deliberation – How do professionals make decisions in action?

Heather M. Fuchs, Norbert Steigenberger, Thomas Lübcke


Despite intense research on decision-making in action, we still know little about when decision-makers rely on deliberate vs. intuitive decision-making in decision situations under complexity and uncertainty. This paper studies decision-making modes (deliberate vs. intuitive) in complex task environments contingent on perceived complexity, experience, and decision style preference. We find that relatively inexperienced decision-makers respond to increases in subjective complexity with an increase in deliberation and tend to follow their decision style preference. Experienced decision-makers are less guided by their decision preference and respond to increases in subjective complexity only minimally. Our paper contributes to a developing stream of research linking decision-making with intra-personal and environmental properties and fosters our understanding of the conditions under which decision-makers rely on intuitive vs. deliberate decision modes. In doing so, we go one step further towards a comprehensive theory of decision-making in action.

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