SOLUTION: MGT 425 SEU Intuitive & Rational Cognition Case Study

Problemy ZarzÈdzania – Management Issues, vol. 17, no. 2(82): 142 –154
ISSN 1644-9584, © Wydziaï ZarzÈdzania UW
DOI 10.7172/1644-9584.82.7
Intuitive and Rational Cognition
in the Theory and Practice of Management Sciences
Submitted: 11.01.19 | Accepted: 26.03.19
Marcin Nowak*, Joanna Ziomek**
The aim of this study is to explain the role of rational and intuitive cognition in the theory and practice
of management. The article presents a synthetic review of definitions and ways of interpreting the
concept of intuition. Subsequently, a conceptual apparatus for rational judgments, intuitive judgments,
and intuition as a special type of skills is proposed. On the basis of the four-stage model of the creative
process and the model of System 1 and System 2, the role of intuition in the work of management
theoretician is explained. Using the four-stage model of competence, the role of intuition in the process
of making managerial decisions is explained. The study shows that intuition is a key skill in the theory
and practice of management.
Keywords: intuition, intuitive judgment, intuitive cognition, managerial decisions, epistemology of
management sciences.
Poznanie intuicyjne i rozumowe w teorii i praktyce nauk
o zarzÈdzaniu
Nadesïany: 11.01.19 | Zaakceptowany do druku: 26.03.19
Celem niniejszego opracowania jest wyjaĂnienie roli poznania rozumowego i intuicyjnego w teorii ibpraktyce
zarzÈdzania. W artykule przedstawiono syntetyczny przeglÈd definicji i sposobu interpretowania pojÚcia
intuicji. NastÚpnie zaproponowano aparat pojÚciowy dotyczÈcy sÈdów rozumowych, sÈdów intuicyjnych
oraz intuicji jako szczególnego typu umiejÚtnoĂci. W oparciu o czterofazowy model pracy twórczej oraz
modele systemu 1 oraz systemu 2 wyjaĂniono rolÚ intuicji w pracy teoretyka zarzÈdzania. PosïugujÈc
siÚ czterofazowym modelem kompetencji, wyjaĂniono rolÚ intuicji w procesie podejmowania decyzji
kierowniczych. W opracowaniu wykazano, ĝe intuicja stanowi kluczowÈ umiejÚtnoĂÊ zarówno w teorii,
jak i w praktyce zarzÈdzania.
Sïowa kluczowe: intuicja, sÈd intuicyjny, poznanie intuicyjne decyzje kierownicze, epistemologia nauk
o zarzÈdzaniu.
JEL: D20, M20, B40
*
Marcin Nowak – dr inĝ., Faculty of Engineering Management, Poznan University of Technology.
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5005-7820.
**
Joanna Ziomek – mgr inĝ., Faculty of Engineering Management, Poznan University of Technology.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7750-0527.
Correspondence address: Faculty of Engineering Management, Poznan University of Technology, 11 Strzelecka Str., 60-965 Poznañ, Poland; e-mail: marcin.nowak@put.poznan.pl; joanna.ziomek@put.poznan.pl.
The creation of the English-language version of these publications is Þnanced in
the framework of contract No. 607/P-DUN/2018 by the Ministry of Science and
Higher Education committed to activities aimed at the promotion of education.
Intuitive and Rational Cognition in the Theory and Practice of Management Sciences
1. Introduction
One of the most important issues in the area of management science
is the decision-making process (Simon, 2013), (Sinclair & Ashkanasy,
2005). Managers must make decisions under the pressure of time, in the
absence of recognized algorithms for resolving management problems, or
the lack of standards for the assessment of measures taken (Laszczak,
2010). Therefore, the decision-making process takes place in conditions of
permanent uncertainty, which manifests itself, inter alia, in limited amounts
of information or incomplete data (Hodgkinson et al., 2009).
Authors exploring the subject claim that managers perceive their work
more as art than science (Suïkowski, 2015; Micklethwait & Wooldridge,
1996; Sudoï, 2014). One of the fundamental reasons for this status quo
is the inadequacy of the management theory in relation to problems
faced by management practitioners in the decision-making process. In the
practice of management, intuition plays the key role – the use of classical
management theory based on analytical processes which require a lot of
information becomes limited (Akinci & Sadler-Smith, 2012). It seems that
the perception of intuition is the primary cause of the discrepancy between
the theory and practice of management (Ghoshal, 2005). It is often stated
that while intuition can be a tool for a manager, theoretician should abstain
from using it. Management theorists often perceive intuition as unspecified
and irrational. Intuition is, however, an important cognitive tool for both
managers and management theoreticians. This study presents intuition as
a common feature of management practitioners and theoreticians.
The article explains the role of intuition in the theory and practice
of management. Through exploring the similarities and differences in the
perception of intuition by theoreticians and practitioners of management in
the context of their work, we can contribute to a better understanding and,
consequently, to reducing the discrepancy between the theory and practice
of management. Considering the above, the aim of this study is to explain
the role of rational and intuitive cognition in the theory and practice of
management. This objective shall be pursued through the application of
the following methods and models:
– conceptual construction methods – in order to develop an appropriate
terminology of intuition;
– a four-stage model of the creative process and a model of System 1 and
System 2 – to explain the role of intuition in the work of a theoretician
of management;
– a four-stage model of competence and a model of System 1 and
Systemb2 – to explain the role of intuition in the work of a management
practitioner.
The article is organized as follows: Section (1) presents the theoretical
problem related to the use of intuition in the theory and practice of
Management Issues – Problemy ZarzÈdzania vol. 17, no. 2(82), 2019
143
Marcin Nowak, Joanna Ziomek
management. Section (2) contains a synthetic overview of definitions and
interpretations of the concept of intuition. In section (3), on the basis of
the traditional theory of knowledge, the concepts of rational judgment and
intuitive judgment are defined and presented as two components of the
knowledge of the subject of cognition. Subsequently, our own definition
of intuition as a specific type of skills is presented. Section (4) explains
the role of intuition in the work of the theoretician of management on
the basis of the four-stage model of the creative process and the model
of System 1 and System 2. Section (5) explains the role of intuition in the
decision-making process in management practice on the basis of the fourstage model of competence and the model of System 1 and Systemb 2. In
section (6), research results were summarized and further research directions
are indicated.
2. The essence of intuition
The word ‚intuition’ comes from two Latin words: ‚intueri’, meaning to
look at, gaze upon, and ‚intuitio’, meaning premonition (KrÈpiec, 2003).
Intuition is the subject of interest in many fields of science, including
philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, or neurocognitive science. The
concept of intuition occurs in literature as a word defining the type of
cognition, the type of knowledge, or the power of the mind enabling
ab specific type of cognition (Rorty, 1967).
One of the basic philosophical approaches is to treat ‚intuition’ as
ab specific cognitive tool. According to Plato, intuition is an extra-rational
tool enabling people to get to know the world of ideas. Plato distinguished
two types of reality – a perfect and unchangeable world of ideas, and an
imperfect and changeable physical world. According to Plato, intuition is
abkind of bridge between the two worlds. Knowledge that has no sources in
rational cognition is the effect of intuition (Wolfsdorf, 2011). Descartes, on
the other hand, indicates that intuition is, despite reason, a component of
the intellect. Intuition in this sense is a tool of direct cognition, which does
not require either perception or the use of reasoning methods. Intuition is
the opposite of reason, itself the tool of indirect cognition, which requires
perception and necessary reasoning (Descartes, 2018). Leibniz divided the
objects of cognition into two categories: necessary truths and contingent
truths. Examples of necessary truths include certain mathematical axioms,
identity relation or contradictions. According to Leibniz, learning necessary
truths is possible only through intuition. Thus, according to Leibniz, intuition
is a cognitive tool that enables us to learn necessary truths. I. Kant, however,
perceived intuition differently. According to Kant, intuition belongs to
senses, not mind. Sensory intuition is a cognitive tool in the sense that
it enables the mind to develop concepts that become the object of the
synthesis of reason. In addition to sensory intuition, Kant also distinguished
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DOI 10.7172/1644-9584.82.7
Intuitive and Rational Cognition in the Theory and Practice of Management Sciences
the so-called pure form of intuition, which included two a priori forms of
sensibility –btime and space (Thompson, 1972). For E. Husserl, intuition is
the source of knowledge. Reasoning without intuition is not possible because
intuition is its foundation, as is provides premises for reasoning. According to
E. Husserl, the role of intuition in cognition prevails over reason. A similar
position on the role of intuition in the process of cognition is expressed
by J.M. Bocheñski, who distinguishes two types of intuition. The first is
intuition preceding reasoning, and the second is intuition manifested in the
vision of the entire system created in the process of reasoning. According
to C.G. Jung, intuition is a kind of organ that functions outside of the
person’s consciousness. Intuition is an opposition to reason, functioning on
the level of consciousness. C.G. Jung attributed to intuition a role that was
superior to the role of reason in creative processes. In this sense, intuition
is a necessary basis for the creative process, without which reason remains
useless (Dane & Pratt, 2007).
Intuition is an important subject of interest for representatives of
management sciences (Khatri & Ng, 2000). One of the first researchers in
this discipline who undertook to define and interpret the concept of intuition
was Ch. Barnard. In the 1930s, he proposed two ways of decision-making
–blogical and non-logical (Agor, 1989). The logical process of decision-making
was based on reasoning expressed in words or symbols. The non-logical way
of making decisions cannot be expressed in words. This is a reasoning that
can only be learned by making a decision, expressing judgment, or as the
effects of an action. In the opinion of Ch. Barnard, non-logical decisions
are the result of intuition. According to W.H. Agor, intuition is a way of
thinking at the interface of consciousness and unconsciousness (Agor, 1989).
This mechanism is launched in the face of the decision-making situation,
giving ready answers. H. Simon states that decision-making processes are
twofold. In this process, two mechanisms are used – analytical thinking
and intuitive thinking. H. Simon treats intuition as a rational process,
based on the work of the mind, which searches memory and previous
experiences in aim to find analogies to current decision problems (Simon,
2013). I. Nonaka and H. Takeuchi, however, propose the concept of tacit
knowledge as an opposition to explicit knowledge (Nonaka et al., 2009).
Tacit knowledge consists of three elements: intuitive knowledge, instinctual
knowledge and emotional knowledge. J. Parikh points out that intuition is
a form of intelligence whose source lies in cumulative experience beyond
the consciousness of the subject. The results of the operation of intuition
are ready assessment and decisions (Parikh, 1994). Currently, an increasing
number of management science studies explores the subject of intuition,
especially in relation to such issues as (Laszczak, 2010):
– decision-making procedures in an organization;
– intuitive abilities of managers;
– the impact of intuitive decisions on the organization’s effectiveness;
Management Issues – Problemy ZarzÈdzania vol. 17, no. 2(82), 2019
145
Marcin Nowak, Joanna Ziomek
– factors influencing the intuitive way of making decisions;
– presence of intuition in making decisions at various levels of management.
3. Intuition as a skill
On the grounds of epistemology, the starting point to define the word
‘knowledge’ is the analysis of the sentence: S knows that P (’ukasiewicz,
2018). Knowledge is most commonly defined as justified true belief (JTB).
In accordance with the presented conception S knows that P, if and only if:
1. S believes that P.
2. P is true.
3. S is justified in believing that P (Gettier, 2017, pp. 69–70).
Literature points to the disadvantages of the JTB concept, mainly related
to the condition of truth (condition 2) and the condition of justified belief
(condition 3). One of the most important objections to the truth condition
of knowledge is the lack of universal consent in terms of the definition of
truth. It is even commonly believed that formulating a definition of truth
is, in principle, impossible. The presented situation is a strong premise to
exclude the truth condition from the definition of knowledge. In the case
of adopting ex cathedra one of the concepts of truth, such as the consensus
theory of truth (conventionalism), in which true statements are considered
to be true when the majority of specialists in a given field consider them as
true, a fundamental problem appears. It is based on the discrepancy between
the common use of the word ‘know’ and the assumed concept of truth.
It is, thus, impossible to eliminate from common use statements such as:
– I know that the Earth is flat;
– I know that you can cure cancer using vitamin C;
– I know that there exists a perpetual motion machine.
In the context of the consensus theory of truth, all of the indicated
statements are obviously untrue. On the one hand, an individual who
utters such sentences is, on the whole, convinced of their truth and may
consider them as components of his/her knowledge. On the other hand,
external observers usually consider all of the above sentences as untrue and,
on this basis, they call such knowledge untrue. The common use of the
statement “I know that…” shows, therefore, the existence of two types of
knowledge – true and false. A separate group contains sentences such as:
“God exists”, the truth of which seems to be unverifiable on the grounds
of the correspondence theory of truth. Although people who recognize
such a judgment are often not conscious of the impossibility of verifying
its truth, they consider it as a component of their knowledge (often one of
great importance for them). Regardless of the adopted concept of truth, it
should be recognized that, in its common use, the concept of knowledge
is not immanently attributed to the truth condition. Thus, authors of this
article decided to propose a concept of knowledge devoid of a necessary
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DOI 10.7172/1644-9584.82.7
Intuitive and Rational Cognition in the Theory and Practice of Management Sciences
truth condition. It is also assumed that the statement according to which
one of the conditions of knowledge is a sufficient justification of a given
sentence (P) by the subject of cognition (S) is in disagreement with the
common use of the word ‘know’. We often witness situations in which
the subject claims: “I know this and that, though I do not know why.”
Such a situation is sometimes described as intuition or the sixth Sense.
It was assumed that the statement that these types of judgments are not
the subject’s knowledge seems to be incompatible with the common sense
and common meaning of the word ‘know’. Thus, a concept of knowledge
devoid of the necessary condition of both truth and sufficient justification
is proposed in this article.
The classical definition of knowledge understood as Justified True Beliefs,
devoid of the two conditions, i.e. truth and sufficient justification, amounts
to a set of believes. As a result, the following definition of knowledge is
proposed (Nowak, 2019):
Definition 1. Knowledge is a set of judgments about the reality of the
subject of cognition
Judgment is understood as a sentence containing statements about
reality. Thus, both an interrogative sentence and an imperative sentence
do not meet the requirements of knowledge. If a subject asks a question,
provided that it is not a rhetorical question, then his/her intention is to
acquire knowledge. If, on the other hand, one formulates a command, (s)he
intends to influence reality rather than to make statements about it. Another
issue to consider is the origin of judgments, i.e. on what basis the subject of
cognition makes certain statements. Basically, two types of judgments can
be distinguished (on the basis of the criterion of origin): judgments based
on other judgments of the subject of cognition and judgments not based
on other judgments of the subject of cognition. This assumption enables
us to formulate the definition of logical judgment and intuitive judgment.
Definition 2. Logical judgment is judgment based logically on other
judgments of the subject of cognition
Judgment which is logically justified on the grounds of other statements
of the subject of cognition can also be called rational judgment.
Definition 3. Intuitive judgment is judgment not based on other judgments
of the subject of cognition
As intuitive judgment is not based on other judgments, it is judgment
without logical justification, thus it is alogical judgment. Each subject of
cognition has a certain set of judgments at a given moment – some of them
can be classified as rational judgments, and some as intuitive judgments.
Both types of judgment form the knowledge base of the subject of cognition.
Every subject of cognition, apart from knowledge, possesses a certain set of
skills. Skills associated with making logical judgments (the ability to think
logically) are a component of the intellect. The conducted analysis allows
us to define intuition as a specific type of skills.
Management Issues – Problemy ZarzÈdzania vol. 17, no. 2(82), 2019
147
Marcin Nowak, Joanna Ziomek
Definition 4. The ability to form intuitive judgments is called intuition
The indicated definition does not refer to the accuracy (compliance with
reality) of intuitive judgments. However, it does not seem necessary. There
exists a group of intuitive judgments whose accuracy or compliance with
reality at the given moment are impossible to determine. An example of this
type of judgment is any forecast. Not assigning accuracy or compliance with
reality to intuition also seems consistent with the common understanding of
intuition. In everyday speech, we commonly refer to good or bad intuition.
Good intuition characterizes a person who has the ability to form accurate
intuitive judgments. On the other hand, a person whose intuitive judgments
are generally inaccurate is said to have bad intuition
The juxtaposition of the theory and practice of management, in
the context of the occurrence of different types of cognition (rational
and intuitive), requires prior definition of the concepts of practice and
theory. A reflection of reality in the form of a system of sentences can
be called a theory (Pszczoïowski, 1978, pp. 182). A scientific theory is
a particular type of theory. A scientific theory can be understood as
ab system of sentences making a statement about a certain object of
reality characterized simultaneously by the combined occurrence of three
attributes: intersubjective communicability, intersubjective verifiability,
and cognitive or utilitarian validity. Practice, on the other hand, is the
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