Publication Type

PhD Dissertation

Publication Date



This dissertation comprises of two essays. The first essay seeks to examine the issue of 'slow' (i.e. gestation periods over hours, weeks and months) forms of intuition and their complex interactions with analytic thinking, especially in the context of breakthrough ideation/ complex problem solving. This exploratory study with qualitative observations with a small set of experienced practitioners supports the sparse academic literature in this area that managers do rely on long gestation forms of sub-conscious processing and that these forms of thinking manifest themselves in different forms with varying degrees of confidence and positive emotion/ affect (popularly referred to as 'hunches' and 'insights/ Flash/ Aha moment'). These slower intuition forms appear to play an important role in generating breakthrough strategic ideas/ help solve complex problems. A key observation from these exploratory inter-actions was that perhaps managers' ability to recognize and use these more complex/ slower intuition forms varies widely as do their attitudes and comfort levels with their intuition. This observation led to an interest in further testing the hypothesis that perhaps individual differences in managers thinking styles especially their comfort with their intuition may have interesting effects which come into play to help generate break-through ideas.\302\240

I tested this hypothesis further in the quantitative study described in the second essay, where I studied Strategic Option Generation, when more time and effort for deliberation and iteration as well as corresponding distractions are available. I compared the effect of some popular external stimuli Option Generation techniques and the effect of individual differences in preferences for analytic vs. intuitive thinking styles on the number of high quality options generated by a sample of experienced executives. The most interesting findings from this study are: firstly, that although the conventional view typically associates effective strategy formulation with conscious analytic thinking, however this study's findings support the view that perhaps we need to better appreciate the role of the intuition end of the cognitive continuum and participants' 'Cognitive Versatility' (i.e. their high engagement in both analytic and intuitive thinking styles) for strategic option generation. Secondly there is also some preliminary evidence of an interesting interaction effect where the external stimulus option generation technique that is opposite to the individual's preferred thinking style yields better results. Similar conclusions are also reported in selected published research regarding the above-mentioned first finding by Gilkey et al, based on very different methods using FMRI scans of participants (Gilkey, Caceda, & Kilts, 2010) and the second finding by Dane et al which used methods similar to my research (Dane E, 2011).


option generation, analytic and intuitive thinking, slow intuition, cognitive versatility

Degree Awarded

PhD in Business (General Management)




REB, Jochen Matthias


Singapore Management University

City or Country


Available for download on Saturday, January 18, 2020

Included in

Business Commons