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Katherina Thusing


Dr Jean McCarthy & Dr Caroline Murphy

Working Title of Thesis:

On Managerial Decision-Making: The interaction of HR-analytics and intuition to increase employee performance in Multi-National Corporations (MNCs)


The lack of data driven and evidence-based metrics has long been considered a barrier for the HR function in taking a more “strategic” role in organisations.
Due to technological advancements in “Industry 4.0”, managers across organisations are now moving towards basing most of their decisions on data rather than drawing on experience, intuition or a “gut feeling” (Davenport et al., 2010; Harris et al., 2011; Marler and Boudreau, 2017).  The CIPD (2017) suggest that HR-analytics is the “must have” HR capability for organisations in order to facilitate improved organisational decision-making by applying sophisticated analyses to existing HRM metrics and data pertaining to human performance.  Whilst many scholars and practitioners argue that HR-analytics enables managers to make objective decisions, there has been limited investigation of the risk of biased decision-making due to over-reliance on HR analytics. Concerns include, inaccurate data and lack of analytical skills among HR practitioners and managers (King, 2016). While research has shown that intuition/experience based decisions can be very effective (Khatri & Ng, 2000), recent trends continue to demonstrate that managers rely almost exclusively on data. If this trend persists, some HR-roles will be in jeopardy of being substituted by artificial intelligence (Frey & Osborne, 2013). 

Purpose: The overarching aim of this PhD research is to examine the interaction between HR-analytics and intuition in managerial decision-making and its impact on employee performance in Multinational Cooperations (MNCs). Therefore, two fundamental questions will be investigated. Firstly, how can an effective interaction between HR-analytics and intuition in managerial decision-making increase employee performance? Secondly, what effect has organisational and national culture on the interaction between HR-analytics and intuition in managerial decision-making?
Proposed design/methodology/approach: In order to address these research questions, a multi-level approach towards theory (micro-, meso- and macro-level) will be adopted. Furthermore, empirical data in the form of interviews and surveys with managers in MNCs across multiple worksites will be collected. A mixed-method approach is chosen to collect and analyse data from the case study.

Originality/value: Existing literature has highlighted the limitations in the development of the concepts in HR-analytics and intuition (Dane and Pratt 2007; Marler and Boudreau 2017). By investigating a conceptual model, based on existing theory in the field of organisational decision-making and HR-analytics, this research can add to the academic and organisational understanding of the value of HR-analytics and intuition in the managerial decision-making process. Particularly, the multilevel view and the focus on national and organisational culture makes this research project unique.