An exploration of decision making oscillations in dynamic and undynamic environments

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O'Driscoll, Michael
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University College Cork
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The rapidly changing nature of information and use of information systems within organisations has seen the emergence of a gradual mistrust of human decision-making approaches. This is evident today with both researchers and practitioners advocating for an increased use of data-driven decision making. Although the advantages of using a data-driven approach have been well-documented, there has been scant research on the interplay between a data-driven approach and more human-centric decision making from an information systems perspective. To that end, this research study seeks to explore oscillations in decision-making approaches while having access to information systems in dynamic and undynamic environments. Data was gathered across four case study locations, in two distinct environments. The first of these was classified as a dynamic environment and two case studies were investigated involving aircraft pilots and an air traffic controller. The second was classified as an undynamic environment, with two further case studies investigated involving a pharmacist and national grid controller. The output of this study makes a number of contributions to IS theory and practise. Firstly, this study extends cognitive continuum theory to the information systems domain. In doing so, this study validates that decision makers will oscillate between an intuitive, system-aided judgement, and data-driven approach to decision making. Secondly, two distinct mechanisms are identified and once activated these mechanisms will oscillate a decision makers decision-making approach. These mechanisms are referred to as the personal sensitivity to a negative outcome mechanism and the process loafing mechanism. Thirdly, this research has validated that the environment a decision maker operates is a factor in the decision-making approach used. However, it was also found that the personal sensitivity to a negative outcome mechanism will override the environment a decision maker is in once activated. Fourthly, this study highlights the need for organisations to consider decision making approaches when implementing new policies, procedures, and information systems.
Intuition , Data driven decision making , Decision making , Aviation information systems , Aircraft pilot decision making , Cognitive continuum theory
O'Driscoll, M. 2021. An exploration of decision making oscillations in dynamic and undynamic environments. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.