Decision-Making Style in Leaders: Uncovering Cognitive Motivation Using Signature Movement Patterns

  •  Brenda Connors    
  •  Richard Rende    
  •  Timothy Colton    


Leaders can and do vary substantially in their decision-making styles. One promising approach for capturing such variation is to analyze signature movement patterns that reflect cognitive priorities and motivations manifested during various stages of the decision making process. Prior work has shown that Assertion and Perspective—two broad dimensions of decision-making style derived from application of Movement Pattern Analysis (MPA)—reliably predict individual differences in decision making process as assessed experimentally. In this study, we examine underlying motivational propensities as applied by leaders across stages of the decision-making process to illuminate the most salient indicators of decision-making style, ones that are predictive of variations in decision-making behavior. Motivations across three stages of decision making revealed by MPA—Attention, Intention, and Commitment—were recorded from observational data by trained coders. While individual differences were notable across all three stages, those associated with Intention were most predictive of two indicators of decision-making process recorded during laboratory assessment. The implications of this work for capturing indicators of motivational bases of individual differences in decision-making style in high-level leaders are discussed.

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