Intuition, expertise and emotion in the decision making of investment bank traders

Vohra, Shalini and Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark (2014). Intuition, expertise and emotion in the decision making of investment bank traders. In: Sinclair, Marta ed. Handbook of Research Methods on Intuition. Handbooks of research methods in management. Cheltenham, UK - Northampton, MA, USA: Elgar, pp. 88–98.




The role of intuition may be especially dominant in organizations embedded in turbulent environments (Khatri & Ng, 2000). Dane and Pratt (2007) argue that intuition will be more likely to function as an effective component of decision making in performance domains that require significant experience and complex domain-relevant schema, a description that fits the world of financial trading. Traders are also frequently engaged in decision making that is characterized by time pressure, high risk, complexity and imperfect information. In a previous study (Fenton-O’Creevy et al., 2011), the second author found that many high performing traders deploy a reflective and critical approach to the use and development of intuition, which they understand as well-founded in prior experience. In this chapter we draw on our prior research to discuss the role of intuition in the work of professional traders. We bring together the results of our research on emotion regulation of investment bank traders (Fenton-O’Creevy et al., 2005, 2011, 2012; Vohra & Fenton-O’Creevy, 2011) with research on expertise and affect-based intuition (Baylor, 2001; Dane & Pratt, 2007; Simon, 1987; Sinclair & Ashkanasy, 2005; Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996) to argue that since more effective emotion regulation is associated with greater experience and more effective use of emotions in decision making (Fenton-O’Creevy et al., 2012) and emotions underpin the use of intuition (Lieberman, 2000; Sinclair & Ashkanasy, 2005), then effective emotion regulation will be essential in the deployment of expert intuition.

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