Recent studies (such as this one) indicate that US marketers often rely on their gut for marketing budget decisions. But this may not be a universal view: a new survey [pdf] sponsored by Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit finds that global business leaders are much more likely to describe their approach to making significant management decisions as being “data-driven” (42%) than “intuitive” (10%). Even so, the study results also suggestÂ a low amount of confidence in data analysis when it comes into conflict with intuition.
Asked what they would do if the available data contradicted their gut feeling when making a decision, a majority 57% of respondents said they would re-analyze the data, while another 30% would collect more data. Only 10% would take the course of action suggested by the data.
That suggests that business leaders continue to rely on intuition – if only in a supporting role. In fact, roughly 3 in 4 respondents said they trust their own intuition when it comes to decision-making, and two-thirds “would be trusted to make a decision that was not supported by data.”
Data-driven decision-making can also fall victim to internal politics, per the study. Indeed, 53% of respondents from companies with more than $5 billion in revenues agreed with the statement: “Company politics trump evidence in decision-making.” Overall, a plurality 43% of respondents agreed with the statement.
Few respondents to the survey believe that more data would help their organization improve decision-making. Rather, a slight majority feel that a better ability to analyze data would serve their decision-making efforts, with many also pointing to more accountability for decision-making.
About the Data: The EIU conducted a survey of 174 business executives from a range of industries in February 2014. Of these, 35% are from Europe, 27% from North America and 26% from Asia- Pacific. Just over half (51%) are of C-level seniority, and 49% represent organizations with over US$500m in annual revenue.