Postprint version. Published in Journal of Management Inquiry, Volume 19, Issue 1, March 1, 2010, pages 56-67. Copyright © 2010 Sage Publications. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1056492609357009.
The dominant model of decision making, rational decision making, is increasingly challenged by research on intuitive decision making and emotion. This article contributes to the debate by articulating a model of how rational decision making, intuitive decision making, and emotion influence each other: the critical decision vortex. The critical decision vortex emerges from a discussion between an emergency room (ER) doctor and a management scholar. The experience of the doctor diagnosing and treating patients in the ER provides the background for a reflection on decision making in critical conditions. One of the main findings of this collaborative effort is that to be effective, ER doctors, like managers, need to remain centered in the critical decision vortex; they need to attend equally to their analytical conclusions, the intuitive hunches that come from their experience, and remain open and attentive to their emotions.
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