Big Data, Big Decisions: The Impact of Big Data on Board Level Decision-Making

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Abstract

Big Data (BD) has the potential to ‘disrupt’ the senior management of organisations, prompting directors to make decisions more rapidly and to shape their capabilities to address environmental changes. This paper explores whether, how and to what extent BD has disrupted the process of board level decision-making. Drawing upon both the knowledge-based view, and cognitive and dynamic capabilities, we undertook in-depth interviews with directors involved in high-level strategic decision-making. Our data reveal important findings in three areas. First, we find evidence of a shortfall in cognitive capabilities in relation to BD, and issues with cognitive biases and cognitive overload. Second, we reveal the challenges to board cohesion presented by BD. Finally, we show how BD impacts on responsibility/control within senior teams. This study points to areas for development at three levels of our analysis: individual directors, the board, and a broader view of the organisation with its external stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Volume93
Early online date1 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Business Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Business Research, Vol 93, 2018
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.08.029

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Funder

We would like to acknowledge the financial support of (1) the Economic and Social Research Council, Digital Social Research programme, and (2) NEMODE, an initiative under the Research Councils UK (RCUK)’s Digital Economy (DE) research programme, in funding this project.

Keywords

  • Boards
  • Directors
  • Big Data
  • Knowledge-based view
  • Capabilities
  • Decision making

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