Business Leaders Prefer Gut Instinct

Sep 10, 2014

A new report by professional services firm PwC has concluded that business leaders prefer to make big decisions based on gut instinct rather than data and analytics.

Most respondents (41%) said they relied on their own experience and intuition most, while 31% said relevant experiences of others was important and 23% placed most value in data analytics and inputs.

UK businesses surveyed by the company believe that the quality of decision making in business is improving  - 83% reported an improvement while 32% said it was significantly better.

Leaders in Britain were found to be more likely to report an improvement in the past two years, as were highly-data driven companies.

Participants also reported a change in the way decisions are made – a rise in democratic decision making and the number of people involved has been recorded.

Leaders quizzed reported that they held concerns about data quality and data overload, with 61% claiming that relying on such information in the past had negatively impacted their organisations.

The report suggests that this, as well as difficult in accessing useful data, is why most business leaders included in the research still rely on their own instincts the most.

“In many ways, this result is not a surprise. Good business is both art and science – rational and intuitive,” claims PwC in the Big Decisions introduction.

“The role of data and analytics is making the rational element as well-informed and insightful as possible to reduce business risk.

“It works alongside experience and intuition, but not to replace it,” it adds.

Need To Cut Costs Driving Factors

The research also claims that growth is at the top of the agenda for UK businesses, but cost pressures drive them to collaborate with competitors.

Over half of participants said they expected to make a big decision on working with competitors and 43% expect to make decisions driven by corporate restructuring.

Decisions executives said they were expecting to have to make over the next year were growing their existing business, entering a new industry or starting a new business entirely and whether to shrink their business or not.


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