Causal information search in managerial decision making

Janet M. Dukerich, Mary Lippitt Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The objective of the research was to examine the problem diagnosis stage of decision making as decision makers attempt to determine the cause of a problem. Thirty-two experienced managers participated in an experiment designed to study the effects of focusing on a single cause on subsequent information search. Using an information board, subjects selected questions about various causes and received either confirming or disconfirming evidence for the causes. Results showed that when attention was focused on a single cause, search was directed toward that cause, but not to the exclusion of other plausible causes as previous studies would indicate. The thoroughness of search varied depending on whether confirming or disconfirming information was present. The results suggest the importance of further research on the cause-seeking process in organizational settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-122
Number of pages17
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1991

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was sponsored in part by a Doctoral Dissertation Grant from the University of Minnesota granted to the first author. The authors would like to express their gratitude to Hal Angle, Art Brief, Jane Dutton, Frances Milliken, and to the managers who participated in the research study. Send requests for reprints to Janet M. Dukerich, Management Department CBA 4.202, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712. 106

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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