Strategic and Tactical Logics of Decision Justification: Power and Decision Criteria in Organizations

Samuel B. Bacharach*, Peter Bamberger, Bryan Mundell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Organizational researchers tend to explain the often high degree of unpredictability in managerial decision-making in terms of differences in the cognitive processes of decision-makers. However, the decision criteria used by managers remain relatively unexplored. Viewing the use of decision criteria as a method by which managers justify their decisions, we examine the logics of justification underlying an empirically-generated list of decision criteria. We then test a number of hypotheses regarding the impact of power-related individual and role characteristics on the decision criteria used by the 962 public sector managers in our sample. The results suggest that although managers may indeed use decision criteria based on two different underlying logics of justification (i.e., strategic and tactical), power-related characteristics of individuals and roles explain only a limited proportion of the variance in the use of decision criteria based upon strategic logics of justification, and explain an even smaller proportion of the variance in the use of decision criteria based upon tactical logics of justification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-488
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Relations
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • decision-making
  • managerial accountability
  • power
  • public sector

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