Sage Publications, Inc.
Group and Organization Management
This study examines how managers make strategic decisions efficiently and simultaneously build the consensus often required to implement decisions successfully. The findings suggest that groups employed 2 critical processes - one substantive/cognitive and the other symbolic/political - to achieve high levels of efficiency and consensus. On the substantive dimension, they gradually structured complex problems by making a series of intermediate choices about particular elements of the decision. On the symbolic dimension, they took steps to preserve the legitimacy of the decision-making process. The present study's findings also imply that the more effective groups treated closure as a process that began to unfold even during the early stages of a decision. When groups established evaluation criteria, they had begun to plant the seeds for a durable closure and a strong consensus. These findings provide new insights into how decision makers employ simplification processes to solve complex problems.