Decision making in organizations



Publication Details

Fulop, L., Linstead, S., Lilley, S. & Clarke, R. J. (2009). Decision making in organizations. In S. Linstead, L. Fulop & S. Lilley (Eds.), Management and Organization: A Critical Text (pp. 667-708). Houndsmills, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.


Decision making is generally considered by managers, and the academic discipline of management, to be central to organizational activity. There are several reasons why decision making is considered to be so crucial. There is the need to formalize and codify management work, promote communication between managers and others in organizations, and be able to justify a selected course of action from a range of likely or perceived options. There is also the very real disciplinary imperative to distinguish management work from other types of work in organizations. Describing management work as decision making seems so obvious and natural that it is hard to conceive of an alternative to it. In this chapter we will critically evaluate some of the assumptions behind traditional decision-making studies, including the notions of ‘choice’ and ‘decision; drawing on traditions that normally lie outside the management discipline and its decision-making literature. We will then examine some major difficulties associated with these traditional management decision-making theories. In the last part of the chapter a textual process model of organizations (Linstead 1985, 1999; Clarke 1991, 1992) is introduced which addresses some of the concerns raised in our evaluation of the traditional decision-making literature.

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Palgrave MacMillan

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