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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Adva Rachel Dinur

The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of “common sense” and to distinguish it from uncommon sense as it applies to managerial decision‐making under…

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3328

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of “common sense” and to distinguish it from uncommon sense as it applies to managerial decision‐making under conditions of task uncertainty. The paper enunciates the definition of common sense decision‐making and develops the concept of “uncommon” sense making. A typology of common sense is put forth, and a case study is used to illustrate it in practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptually developmental paper, which explores and develops the concept of uncommon sense through literature review and typology development. A mechanistic, or internally driven, decision approach is compared with an organic, externally driven one, and the question of how common sense is related to these approaches in varying task uncertainty conditions is explored. A short case study is used as an illustration of the practical managerial implications under low task certainty conditions.

Findings

The concepts of MCS (common sense) and MUS (uncommon sense) are established, as well as O and M errors. It is suggested that within a mechanistic approach MCS is most appropriate in conditions of high task certainty. Within an organic approach MUS is most appropriate in conditions of low task certainty. An O error occurs when a mechanistic approach is taken, using common sense, under low task certainty. Lack of appropriate resources deems such an approach unsuitable. An M error occurs when a more risky organic approach (MUS) is taken when resources exist to make a common sense decision.

Practical implications

Increasing globalization, work ambiguity, and task complexity, introduce a need for greater managerial adaptability and speed. MUS may therefore play an increasingly greater role in organizational decision‐making as managers seek answers to questions generated by new and unique situations where existing decision rules may not apply.

Originality/value

The theoretical framework offered in this paper looks at the increasingly common situations in which “thinking outside the box” is essential for sound decision making. It suggests a taxonomy that allows for exploration as well as application of “uncommon sense”‐based theory in situations that require such innovative thinking. It takes a significant step in the theoretical and practical understanding of the very relevant issues of inspiration, adventure and creativity in managerial decision making today.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 49 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Michael Y. Moon

The concept of common sense has not received much attention in the organization literature. In this paper, I propose a model that links a change agent's self‐awareness and…

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3874

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of common sense has not received much attention in the organization literature. In this paper, I propose a model that links a change agent's self‐awareness and reflexivity, his or her sensemaking of common sense perspectives related to planned change, and buy‐in among organization stakeholders. The case is made for change agents to pay close attention to common sense perspectives because they can become the basis for particular problematic ambivalence and diminished change buy‐in among stakeholders in the organization. This paper aims to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Conceptual and theoretical rationales for the model are offered. Examples from the psychological and organizational theory literatures provide support for the various elements of the model.

Findings

Common sense perspectives should be factored into the diagnosis of the organization. Self‐awareness, reflexivity, and sensemaking are all forms of social awareness that are necessary to engage stakeholders on matters of common sense.

Research implications

Four research areas are identified. First, social and cultural contextual influences on common sense require clarification. Second, if resistance is multidimensional, how are dimensions influenced by common sense? Third, what group level of the organization (e.g., individual, group, organization) do common sense perspectives represent? Fourth, how may change agents work out incommensurate common sense perspectives?

Practical implications

Common sense cannot be mandated. Change agents must maintain self‐awareness and reflexivity as they work with stakeholders in a sensemaking process. Increased buy‐in emerges through minimizing ambivalence towards change.

Originality/value

Little, if anything, has been written on the use of common sense in organizational change management.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Sheng Zhao

The purpose of this paper is to examine, from management perspective, the nature of common sense, its application in decision‐making, and possibility of developing common

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2108

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine, from management perspective, the nature of common sense, its application in decision‐making, and possibility of developing common sense more effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

To take typical dictionary definitions of common sense, understand, from management perspective, the different aspects of the nature of common sense, analyze how these properties affect different applications of common sense in decision making process. To cite available literature to support or explain points made, and make a parallel comparison to intuition and decision making where appropriate because of their similarity to certain extent.

Findings

The paper provides how to understand properties of common sense from managerial perspective, analyzes its value in aiding decision making, explains how mangers utilize common sense of target group or employees for decision making and creativity, and proposes some points for boosting development of common sense.

Practical implications

The paper points out possible different utilization of common sense for decision making. Common sense can be used for innovation. An effective strategy for innovation is not to launch sounds‐big innovation programs, but to respect and trust your employees to allow them freedom of expression of common sense and uncommon sense.

Originality/value

The paper suggests that common sense may involve tacit knowledge, often is a mix of personal experience and social communication, often comprises hard part and soft part, and can be used for creativity. The paper explains why there exist opposite opinions on common sense approach. These have not been seen in existing literature.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Rod Gerber

Anecdotal evidence abounds of people in workplaces who use common sense in their work practices. Until now, the idea of common sense being a key concept in workplace…

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1635

Abstract

Anecdotal evidence abounds of people in workplaces who use common sense in their work practices. Until now, the idea of common sense being a key concept in workplace learning and practice has not been valued too highly. Attempts have been made in psychological and philosophical literature to understand how common sense knowledge differs from theoretical knowledge. This study represents an initial attempt to use people’s experience in workplaces to understand how they see common sense as an important element of workplace learning. Using a phenomenographic research approach, it was revealed that people held seven different understandings of common sense in workplace experiences. For them, common sense was experienced as: a gut feeling, an innate ability, knowing how, learning, using others, demonstrable cognitive abilities, and personal attributes. These variations offer a broader approach to thinking about common sense in work practices.

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Education + Training, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Benjamin W. Redekop

The purpose of this paper is to deepen our understanding of the philosophical and scientific pedigree of the concept of “common sense”, and explore the implications for…

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1248

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to deepen our understanding of the philosophical and scientific pedigree of the concept of “common sense”, and explore the implications for managerial decision‐makers.

Design/methodology/approach

After examining the management literature on this topic, a brief history of the notion and philosophy of common sense is followed by a review of recent findings in cognitive science and other fields and a discussion of implications for managerial decision‐making.

Findings

The notion of common sense has a stable perceptual basis in the makeup of the human mind, as has been shown by philosophers and scientists. Common sense intuitions serve as the basis for making sense of the world: visual perception, scientific reasoning, language, psychology, mathematics, and moral judgments are all rooted in “mental hardware” of common sense. While it is a necessary element of human cognition, common sense can nevertheless lead us astray if we are unaware of its contours and limitations, which are outlined in this paper.

Practical implications

Understanding that the mind comes equipped with a host of common sense mental instincts will have an impact on both one's own decision‐making processes, and how decision‐makers attempt to influence others.

Originality/value

Based on original research as well as literature from a variety of disciplines, this paper provides a comprehensive understanding of the philosophical and scientific pedigree of “common sense” and its implications for decision‐makers.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Rick Holden and John Hamblett

This series of papers aims to explore the transition from higher education into work. It reports on research undertaken over a period of two years and which sought to…

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5189

Abstract

Purpose

This series of papers aims to explore the transition from higher education into work. It reports on research undertaken over a period of two years and which sought to track a number of young graduates as they completed their studies and embarked upon career of choice.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach adopted is defined and discussed as one of “common sense”. Alongside the notion of “common sense” the paper deploys two further concepts, “convention” and “faith” necessary to complete a rudimentary methodological framework. The narratives which are at the heart of the papers are built in such a way as to contain not only the most significant substantive issues raised by the graduates themselves but also the tone of voice specific to each.

Findings

Five cases are presented; the stories of five of the graduates over the course of one year. Story lines that speak of learning about the job, learning about the organisation and learning about self are identified. An uneven journey into a workplace community is evident. “Fragmentation” and “cohesion” are the constructs developed to reflect the conflicting dynamics that formed the lived experience of the transitional journeys experienced by each graduate.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst the longitudinal perspective adopted overcomes some of the major difficulties inherent in studies which simply use “snap shot” data, the natural limits of the “common sense” approach restrict theoretical development. Practically speaking, however, the papers identify issues for reflection for those within higher education and the workplace concerned with developing practical interventions in the areas of graduate employability, reflective practice and initial/continuous professional development.

Originality/value

The series of papers offers an alternative to orthodox studies within the broader context of graduate skills and graduate employment. The papers set this debate in a more illuminating context.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 49 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Erwin Rausch

The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning, significance, and development, of common sense and to suggest an approach for enhancing it.

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1035

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning, significance, and development, of common sense and to suggest an approach for enhancing it.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature review and critical analysis of the way greater skill in decision‐making leads to “better” common sense.

Findings

In light of the very limited coverage of common sense development in the literature, this paper may make a contribution to the awareness of the dimensions of common sense and to approaches that can help individuals develop what might be more appropriate decisions based on common sense – decisions that consider more of the relevant issues.

Practical implications

Individuals – managers and leaders in all work and home activities – can enhance their common sense, and with it their decisions, by developing the habit of following the guidelines suggested by the paper, or equally appropriate ones.

Originality/value

There does not appear to be anything as practically applicable to common sense development as the suggested approach

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Christie R. Morgan and Palaniappan Thiagarajan

The purpose of this paper is to re‐think the definition of three commonly used terms; discuss links between ethics, common sense and rationality; offer a model integrating…

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2989

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to re‐think the definition of three commonly used terms; discuss links between ethics, common sense and rationality; offer a model integrating these; and present findings regarding the understanding of common sense and rationality.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on data collected from a convenient sample on their definitions of common sense and rationality. A constant comparison method of analysis is used to identify common themes in the definitions from this sample of 38 responses. Percentages and Yule's Q statistical data as well as descriptive statistics of demographics are obtained and examined.

Findings

Our findings indicate that a much higher percentage of respondents understand common sense to have a very similar meaning to the literary definition than those understanding the literary meaning of rationality. Statistical analysis of the findings agree.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should include a random sample and definitions of the term “ethics” and further consider the integration of ethics, common sense and rationality.

Practical implications

One implication of this research is to focus on a common understanding of these terms to those who use them. The model presented is intended to provide practical perception of the integration of ethics, common sense and rationality for application in management and life.

Originality/value

This paper adds to current literature on ethics, common sense, and rationality by extensive literature review of all three and combining that research as not presented previously. We offer a view that integrates common sense, rationality and ethics from distant philosophers and considers the current lack of literature connecting the three as shown in the form of a Figure.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Frank Fitzpatrick

Abstract

Details

Understanding Intercultural Interaction: An Analysis of Key Concepts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-397-0

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

Paul Goodwin

Hard decision analysis models allow complex decisions to be broken down into easier‐to‐handle and precisely defined sub‐problems and also provide a documented rationale…

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2036

Abstract

Purpose

Hard decision analysis models allow complex decisions to be broken down into easier‐to‐handle and precisely defined sub‐problems and also provide a documented rationale for the decision. This paper aims to investigate why the course of action prescribed by a hard decision analysis model can sometimes conflict with a manager's commonsense view of the appropriate course of action, even when the model is based on judgments elicited from the manager. It also discusses how such conflicts might be resolved so that the decision can be made with greater insight and confidence.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the decision making and psychology literatures to obtain a definition of commonsense and to show how and why it might lead to conclusions that are at variance with those indicated by rational decision model.

Findings

Four possible reasons for conflicts between commonsense and a hard decision analysis model are identified. First, common sense reasoning is fuzzy while decision analysis models are precise. Second, under some circumstances, the axioms of a decision analysis model may conflict with common sense. Third, the decision model may be a misrepresentation of the decision problem because errors may have occurred when judgments were elicited from the decision maker. Fourth, common sense may suggest an inferior course of action.

Practical implications

The paper shows the potential dangers of making decisions based on commonsense alone or of relying unquestionably on a decision analysis model.

Originality/value

The paper shows that the exploration of conflicts between the indications of decision analysis models and common sense and may lead to better decision making.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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