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On the relevance of Cognitive Continuum Theory and quasirationality for understanding management judgment and decision making

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  • N200 Management Studies


‘Quasirationality’ (i.e., the combination of intuitive and analytic thought) is increasingly considered to be widespread and beneficial in management. This paper provides an overview of this concept as it is defined by Cognitive Continuum Theory (Hammond, 1996 and Hammond, 2000), and highlights the relevance of the theory for studying managerial judgment and decision making. According to Cognitive Continuum Theory, there are multiple modes of cognition that lie on a continuum between intuition and analysis. Quasirationality is the prevalent mode of cognition. Cognitive (managerial) tasks vary in their ability to induce intuition, quasirationality or analysis, and performance is contingent on the correspondence between task properties and cognitive mode. Using Cognitive Continuum Theory, management researchers can identify tasks requiring different modes of thought, and recognize when quasirationality may outperform analysis and intuition. Researchers can also utilize Cognitive Continuum Theory to iron out some identified anomalies in the strategic management literature and to provide a more refined theoretical framework in this context.

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