Wednesday, June 12, 2013

McKinsey Quarterly Report on Decision Making Styles

A brief article* in the April McKinsey Quarterly describes a piece of early-stage academic research into different individuals' decision making styles at work.

This is not rigorous social science.  The 5,000 survey participants were self-selected readers of the McKinsey Quarterly and Harvard Business Review.  Survey responses showed a range of decision making preferences, from largely intuitive to exhaustive deliberation.  Further analysis identified five different types of decision-makers.  Each type has exposure to certain decision making risks based on the decision-maker's preference for say, moving ahead quickly vs. lengthy analysis.  In other words, each type exhibits certain biases.

A practical application of this typology is to see which type best describes two very important people: you and your boss.  Self assessment is always valuable to identify current strengths and improvement opportunities.  Boss assessment may reveal why your boss sees things differently from you, and suggest ways you can support and complement your boss to help you both become more successful at work.


*  D. Lovallo and O. Sibony, “Early-stage research on decision-making styles,” McKinsey Quarterly (April 2013).  Retrieved June 11, 2013.  A pop-out button is on the right side of the text, about half-way down the article; pushing the button opens a slide show of the different decision making types.  A pdf of the article can be downloaded if one registers (free) at the site.

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