Academic journal article IUP Journal of Management Research

Decision Making in Relation to Personality Types and Cognitive Styles of Business Students

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Management Research

Decision Making in Relation to Personality Types and Cognitive Styles of Business Students

Article excerpt

The present study was designed to examine the relation of personality and cognitive styles with the decision-making style of future managers. For this purpose, a sample of 130 postgraduate students of management were selected through incidental sampling. The tests used in the study were decision making style inventory by Rowe and Mason, Myers Briggs type indicator by Myers Briggs and cognitive style inventory by Jha. The results showed that intuitive personality type had a significant relationship with the conceptual decision style. The personality type 'thinking' showed positive correlation with directive decision style, but negative correlation with behavioral. However, the personality type, 'feeling' showed positive correlation with behavioral decision style. Personality type, 'judging' had a significant relationship with analytical decision style, whereas, personality type, 'perceiver' had an inverse relationship with it. Further, it was found that systematic and intuitive cognitive styles had an inverse relationship with behavioral decision style. Though systematic cognitive style had a significant relationship with analytical decision style, the study concludes the need for the inclusion of training programs on decision making for management students.


Decision-making process is a crucial managerial function that is increasingly becoming complex due to technological and politico-socio-economical factors. Managers need to ensure that their companies continuously innovate and improve in order to achieve and maintain a sustainable competitive edge. Porter (1985) assumed that it is this competitive ability which is considered to be at the core of the success or failure of a firm. If managers want their companies to survive in a dynamic and uncertain environment, they need to make effective decisions concerning new business opportunities, products, customers, suppliers, markets and technical developments. According to Cyert et al. (1956), "Management is a series of decision-making processes" and "decision making is at the heart of executive activity in business".

The word 'decision' has been defined as an "Answer to some problem or a choice between two or more alternatives" (Rowe et al., 1984). It is the ability to make a decision regarding choices within a pool of alternatives (Hammond, 1999). Rowe and Mason (1987) refer to decision making in terms of five key cognitive processes, i.e., stimuli, response, reflection, implementation and evaluation. A majority of the research on decision making ascribes to the belief that decision making is a process. Phillips (1997) described a five-stage process for decision making, i.e., identifying all alternatives, valuing the alternatives according to preferences and potential outcomes, assembling the information, choosing between preferences and outcomes, and selecting the most favorable alternative.

The studies on decision making and decision styles have evolved over the last century. In the 1960s, researchers started focusing specifically on the area of decision making and individuals' decision styles. Driver and Streufert (1969) developed a model in line with the decision making style that examined one's information processing and problem solving abilities. This development was based on a previous work conducted in the area of cognitive psychology (Rowe and Boulgarides, 1983).

By the early 1990s, several theorists embarked on a mission to define decision making style. Driver (1979) defined it as "a habitual pattern that an individual uses in the decision-making process". Further, Harren (1979) stated that one's decision making style was an individual characteristic for perceiving and responding to a decision making task. Two key factors are involved for stylistic differences among individuals when making a decision. The first factor is information use (the amount of information considered in making a decision). The other factor is focus (the number of solutions one develops before making a decision). …

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