Wisdom, uncertainty, and ambiguity in management decisions based on experiences and the trustworthiness of research methods to substantiate them

Ronald Jean Degen


Wisdom, uncertainty, and ambiguity will always exist in management decisions. One danger for firms lies in managers making decisions based on faulty theories acquired through personal experiences or learned from the experiences of others. Often, these decisions don’t generate the expected outcome and may even put the future of the firm at risk. Managers, to avoid this risk, are required to become wiser, more discerning, and more appropriately skeptical toward personal theories or theories learned from management gurus that propose simplistic formulas and quick-fix remedies. In this paper, the author discusses the risk of decisions based on personal theories or theories learned from others, the business research methods used to substantiate these theories, the philosophical assumptions of business research, the strength and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the benefits of combining both methods, and the trustworthiness of research methods in general for substantiating the theories used by managers in their decision-making.



Management Decisions; Business Research Methods; Risk of Faulty Management Theories; Wisdom in Management Decisions; Ambiguity in Management Decisions; Uncertainty in Management Decisions.


Bansal, P., & Corley, K. G. (2012). Publishing in AMJ - part 7: What’s different about qualitative research. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 509–513.

Bennis, W. G., & O'Toole, J. (2005). How business schools lost their way. Harvard Business Review, 96–104.

Bluhm, D. J., Harman, W., Lee, T. W., & Mitchell, T. R. (2011). Qualitative research in management: A decade of progress. Journal of Management Studies, 48(8), 1866–1891.

Collins, J. C. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap and others don’t. New York, NY: Harper Business.

Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2011). Business research methods (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Corley, K. G., & Gioia, D. A. (2011). Building theory about theory building: What constitutes a theoretical contribution? Academy of Management Review, 36(1), 12–32.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Cusumano, M. A. (2010). Staying power: Six enduring principles for managing strategy and innovation in an uncertain world (lessons from Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google, Toyota and more). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. (Original work published 1938).

Diamond, J. M. (1999). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. (Original work published 1997).

Drucker, P. F. (2006). The effective executive. New York, NY: Collins. (Original work published 1967).

Firestone, W. A. (1987). Meaning in method: The rhetoric of quantitative and qualitative research. Educational Researcher, 16(7), 16–21.

Ghoshal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75–91.

Hambrick, D. C. (2005). Just how bad are our theories? A response to Ghoshal. Academy of Management & Education, 4(1), 104–107.

Hambrick, D. C. (2007). The field of management's devotion to theory: Too much of a good thing. Academy of Management Journal, 50(6), 1346– 1352.

Hayek, F. A. V. (2008). A free-market monetary system. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute. (Original work published 1974).

Heraclitus. (2001). Fragments: The collected wisdom of Heraclitus. New York, NY: Viking.

Hunt, B. (2011). Publishing qualitative research in counseling journals. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(3), 296–300.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Migiro, S., & Oseko, A. (2010). Qualitative research paradigms: What the novice researcher needs to know. Proceedings of the European Conference on Research Methods for Business & Management Studies, pp. 334–341.

Peters, T. J., & Waterman, R. H. (2004). In search of excellence: Lessons from America's best-run companies. New York, NY: Harper Business Essentials. (Original work published 1982).

Popper, K. R. (2002). The logic of scientific discovery. London, UK: Routledge. (Original work published 1935).

Pratt, M. G. (2009). For the lack of a boilerplate: Tips on writing up (and reviewing) qualitative research. Academy of Management Journal, 52(6), 856–862.

Rosenzweig, P. (2007). The halo effect. New York, NY: Free Press.

Savin-Baden, M., & Major, C. H. (2010). New approaches to qualitative research: Wisdom and uncertainty. London, UK: Routledge.

Statista. (2016, November 16). Global smartphone OS market share held by RIM (blackberry) from 2007 to 2016. Retrieved from website: https://www.statista.com/statistics/263439/global-market-share-held-by-rimsmartphones/


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Iberoamerican Journal of Strategic Management  e-ISSN: 2176-0756

Licença Creative Commons
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença
Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial-CompartilhaIgual 4.0 Internacional