Do Interactive Theories Really Explain Public Sector Managerial Decision-Making?

  •  David Clark-Murphy    


"The facility to predict decision-making performance of individual managers is of significance, not only for executives and scientists, but for society itself" (Streufert & Swezey, 1986). Some managers make good decisions in complex environments, others do not. Recent criticisms of public sector managers suggest that their capacity to make decisions may be impeded by an increasingly complex working environment, a product of public sector reform.
Despite decades of research in this area, behavioural prescriptions for success or failure in decision-making have provided inconsistent results, especially when attempting to transfer those prescriptions from one context to another. If so, it may be that individual decision-making depends upon a specific context. However, it may not be the objective nature of the environment in which decisions are made. It may be that individual decision-making performance is more influenced by the individual manager's subjective interpretation of the environment. That subjective interpretation may in turn depend upon the individual's integrative complexity (information processing characteristics) and other self-regulatory mechanisms.

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