An empirical examination of the strategic decision-making process:the relationship between context, process, and outcomes


Despite concerted academic interest in the strategic decision-making process (SDMP) since the 1980s, a coherent body of theory capable of guiding practice has not materialised. This is because many prior studies focus only on a single process characteristic, often rationality or comprehensiveness, and have paid insufficient attention to context. To further develop theory, research is required which examines: (i) the influence of context from multiple theoretical perspectives (e.g. upper echelons, environmental determinism); (ii) different process characteristics from both synoptic formal (e.g. rationality) and political incremental (e.g. politics) perspectives, and; (iii) the effects of context and process characteristics on a range of SDMP outcomes. Using data from 30 interviews and 357 questionnaires, this thesis addresses several opportunities for theory development by testing an integrative model which incorporates: (i) five SDMP characteristics representing both synoptic formal (procedural rationality, comprehensiveness, and behavioural integration) and political incremental (intuition, and political behaviour) perspectives; (ii) four SDMP outcome variables—strategic decision (SD) quality, implementation success, commitment, and SD speed, and; (iii) contextual variables from the four theoretical perspectives—upper echelons, SD-specific characteristics, environmental determinism, and firm characteristics. The present study makes several substantial and original contributions to knowledge. First, it provides empirical evidence of the contextual boundary conditions under which intuition and political behaviour positively influence SDMP outcomes. Second, it establishes the predominance of the upper echelons perspective; with TMT variables explaining significantly more variance in SDMP characteristics than SD specific characteristics, the external environment, and firm characteristics. A newly developed measure of top management team expertise also demonstrates highly significant direct and indirect effects on the SDMP. Finally, it is evident that SDMP characteristics and contextual variables influence a number of SDMP outcomes, not just overall SD quality, but also implementation success, commitment, and SD speed.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Marketing & Strategy
Additional Information: © Neil Shepherd, 2014 asserts their moral right to be identified as the author of this thesis. This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement. If you have discovered material in Aston Publications Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: strategic decision,decision making,decision process,context,top management team
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:49
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 15:14
Completed Date: 2014-03-28
Authors: Shepherd, Neil


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