Purpose – The purpose of this research is to explore the effects of the diversity of experience and different personalities of top management team members on mediating processes such as agenda‐setting, the generating of strategic alternatives, and the speed of strategic decision making. Previous research has studied the effects of top management team characteristics on strategic decision‐making and performance by analyzing team demographics such as age and tenure – with ambiguous results. Design/methodology/approach – In a multi‐case study approach, 46 members of eight top management teams were interviewed and surveyed. Findings – The study suggests that the ambiguity of research results can be decreased by: introducing more deep‐level measures; and further differentiating the mediating processes. The results indicate that diversity of experience affects agenda‐setting and the generating of alternatives but – unexpectedly – does not appear to affect the speed of decision making. Personality factors such as flexibility, achievement motivation, networking abilities, and action orientation seem to have a clearer impact on decision speed. Practical implications – This study suggests ways to build successful teams by differentiating between the effects of experiences and personalities of team members. Furthermore, it indicates that teams might be able to compensate for different strengths and weaknesses within the team, and stresses the importance of transparent strategic objectives and leadership. Originality/value – This study extends existing research by proposing ways to reduce the ambiguity of recent research results regarding the effects of management teams on strategic decision making. It is based on a broad empirical research and offers theoretical and managerial implications.
Management Decision – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 26, 2007
Keywords: Team working; Decision making; Strategic management; Senior management
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