Relationship of Intuition and Evidence

Current society is becoming more and more scientifically driven, causing organizational leadership to rely on evidence-based decision making, which relies on double-loop learning where habitual methodologies are examined against proven best practices (Argyris, 1976). There is a growing sentiment that evidence-based decision making using analytics is superior to intuitive decision making, however, the danger of evidence is becoming dogmatic to the point where intuition is removed from the equation altogether.

Intuition is expertise based on experience, and higher expertise leading to better recognition of valid information (Klein, 2001). Intuition is the use of perception, imagination and memory (Husserl, 1980) leading to the sudden appearance of solutions not related to previous attempts or resulting from reorganization of visual information (Mayer, 1995). When using intuition, creativity is heightened and leads to imaginative decision making not always possible in evidence-based decision making (Dayan and Di Benedetto, 2011).

The misconception is that intuition is decision making void of valid analytics, however this is not the case. On the contrary, intuition is analysis of significant information sources and the identification of those that are essential to the situation (Malewska & Sajdak, 2014). The information that is used is just lower in volume, but higher in quality to the given situation, than broad range analytics (Gigerenzer, 2008). Decision makers employing their intuition use fewer but more relevant pieces of information (Shanteau, 1992).

Leaders, and organizations, that fully understand the relationship between information use for evidence-based decision making and information for intuitive decision making will be greater equipped for successful management and can avoid dogmatic application of evidence. Intuitive management is an important source of gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage (Malewska & Sajdak), however evidence based decision making helps leaders and organizations avoid hidden pitfalls.


Argyris, C. (1976). Leadership, Learning and Changing the Status Quo. Organizational Dynamics, vol. 4(iss. 3), pp. 29–43.

Dayan, M., & Di Benedetto, C. A. (2011). Team intuition as a continuum construct and new product creativity: The role of environmental turbulence, team experience, and stress. Research Policy, 40(2), 276–286.

Gigerenzer, G. (2008). Gut feelings: the intelligence of the unconscious.

Husserl, E. (1980). Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy. The Hague; Boston; Hingham, MA, USA: M. Nijhoff ; Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.

Klein, G. (2001). Sources of power: how people make decisions (7th print). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.

Malewska, K., & Sajdak, M. (2014). The Intuitive Manager and the Concept of Strategic Leadership. Management (1429-9321), 18(2), 44–58.

Mayer, R. E. (1995). The Search for Insight: Grappling with Gestalt Psychology’s Unanswered Questions. ResearchGate. Retrieved from’s_Unanswered_Questions

Shanteau, J. (1992). How much information does an expert use? Is it relevant? Acta Psychologica, 81(1), 75–86.

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