Leadership and Influence: But Who Influences the Leaders' Decision-Making?

Amalie Dorothea Højlund Iversen & Ivan Julius Hulstrøm

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis investigates how organizational culture and heuristics can influence leaders’ decision-making. Thus, the purpose is to view leadership in regard to how the leader is influenced, as opposed to former leadership studies which focus on how leaders influence others. In order to investigate this phenomenon, narrative interviews have been conducted with different leaders and employees in one organization. These interviews are used to analyze and illustrate how organizational culture and heuristics respectively can be influential on the leader’s decision-making. The analysis uses both a thematic narrative analysis and a combined structural and thematic narrative analysis. In this thesis, influence is to be understood as having both a collective and individual impact on the leader. The collective influence is investigated through a lens of organizational culture on the basis of Edgar Schein’s three levels of organizational culture. Then organizational culture is investigated through a case study to understand how organizational culture appears in the narrative interviews. This understanding of the organizational culture is used to understand how this is influential on the leader’s decision-making. To investigate the individual influence, Kahneman & Tversky’s theory of heuristics and bias is used to investigate how these also have an influence on leaders’ decision-making. In this thesis, the leader is perceived as influenced by their employee’s behavior. The leaders use of heuristics and the risk of activating biases are to be understood throughout an analysis of the leader’s decision-making process. The analytical work of this thesis contributes an understanding of how leaders’ decision-making can be influenced. In conclusion, this thesis illustrates, on the basis of the empirical data, that leaders’ decision-making can indeed be influenced by organizational culture and the use of heuristics in both a suitable and unsuitable way

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages105