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ANALYSING MANAGEMENT DECISION‐MAKING: FURTHER THOUGHTS AFTER THE BRADFORD STUDIES

Christopher Rowe

Journal of Management Studies, 1989, vol. 26, issue 1, 29-46

Abstract: Despite the vast range of contributions, the study of decision‐making has remained highly fragmented. Early writers adopted a psychological perspective, viewing the individual as an information processing system, and this detracted from a consideration of political aspects such as conflict and power. The subsequent move towards an approach that saw decision‐making more as a political process was to be welcomed, and this article argues that this owed much to the work of Thompson and Tuden (1964). Their matrix model was extended further by Astley et al. (1982) and Hickson et al. (1986) in what became known as the Bradford Studies, and the author believes that this lineage in theoretical development can be taken further by focusing upon the ‘flow’ of management decisionmaking. Two explanatory case studies are used to show how, in the specific case of computer installations, different decision‐making processes can move along alternative routes through the matrix. The hypothesis put forward is that a particular process flow depends primarily on the nature of organizational power (i. e. whether it is specialist or structural), and consequently upon the level of management involved, and the stage at which they become involved.

Date: 1989
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