Project Managers and Decision Making: Conditional Cognitive Switching and Rationally Stepping Up

Agnieszka Nowińska *, Torben Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Decision makers switch between analytical-rational and intuitive-experiential approaches to decision making, a phenomenon termed “cognitive gear switching.” Such switching is crucial for decision making in any organization. However, how decision makers switch between the intuitive-experiential and analytical-rational approaches, the interplay between these approaches and contextual factors remains poorly understood. We study this in the context of decisions made in ongoing product-development projects, where we distinguish between the decision-making behavior of project managers and other project members. We show that project managers are more likely to switch decision-making approaches when faced with project uncertainty and, in such cases, to favor the analytical-rational approach. As such, we define project managers as “conditional cognitive switchers” and the strategy used as “rationally stepping up.”
Original languageEnglish
Article number102414
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Decision-making approach
  • Switching
  • Dual-process theory
  • Project manager

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