Organisational decision-making: A personal construct perspective

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Natalie Marguet


Management and organisational literature reports that half of all decisions are considered to fail, as they are either discarded before an implementation attempt, or are implemented with fruitless efforts. Such decisions are expected to be based on facts, information and expertise, and carried out in a rational manner. However, most organisational decisions are not based on precise information or carefully deliberated analysis; they are not objective or carried out in an isolated manner. Instead, organisational decisions are made through personal experiences, social relationships and interactions, and often in an unconscious manner. Thus, there is a need to understand the complexity of the ‘ways’ decisions are made in organisations, uncovering the hidden construing, expectations, orientations and interactions of organisational decision-makers. The focus of this study is the problem of how the complex phenomenon of organisational decision-making can be captured, modelled and explored in order to understand ‘why’ organisations make the decisions that they do. This study has identified a conceptual gap that represents an oversimplification of the complex and interlocking phenomenon of organisational decision-making. It is argued that there is a need to consider the multi-dimensional layers and interactions of the private and social worlds of the organisational decision. A conceptual model is presented that reveals the power of synthesising Organisational Sensemaking and Personal Construct Theory, to gain an alternative perspective of organisational decision-making that considers organisational decisions, sensing and actions. Additionally, this study proposes an innovative methodology known as FORMED to elicit the complex and iterative practices of decision-makers, thus providing a ‘vehicle’ through which the decision-makers are able to map their organisational decision landscape. An important constituent of this study is the ability to capture both the individual and social perspectives of each of the organisational decision-makers in a visible and measurable manner. The findings empirically demonstrate the influences of personal experiences, natural choices, behaviours, relationships and interactions upon the organisational decision, which is concerned with the planning and development of organisational growth. An emergent empirical finding established how operational and strategic management tensions are a natural and essential aspect of the organisational decision and confirmed how the discussion of assumptions and distinctions can trigger a debate and agreement regarding the organisation’s identity, its direction and its policies. Thus, through reflective practices decision-makers demonstrated their ability to step out of their habitual choices and change their circumstances, as they moved through the terrain of the organisational decision landscape, reconsidering their choices and orientations, ultimately shifting their organisational decision.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2017