Explicit, implicit and ideal models of decision-making in a healthcare executive

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


The importance of shared mental models in teamwork has been explored in a diverse array of artificial work groups. This study extends such research to explore the role of mental models in the strategic decision-making of a real-world senior management group.
Data were collected from an intact group of senior healthcare executives (N=13) through semi-structured interviews, meeting observations and internal document analysis. Participants responded to interview prompts about decision-making processes (past, present and ideal), decision quality and general team function. Mental model diagrams were created within the interview and further refined using content analysis of the interview transcript.
Three decision-making models emerged from the data: (1) a shared model of explicit (formal) decision-making; (2) a shared model of implicit (informal) decision-making; and (3) a divergent model of ideal decision-making. Mental model similarity was insufficient to foster high team performance, with congruence between individual implicit and ideal models more indicative of current satisfaction and hope for the future.
As a qualitative case study, the data may not generalisable to other organisations.
Research/Practical Implications
Is it important for management teams to understand and be mindful of the different forms of mental models and their implications for decision making.
This study is among the first to examine the implications of shared mental models in Executive group decision-making processes. The study forms the baseline for a longitudinal study tracking the evolution of shared decision-making mental models in response to a series of decision support interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - May 2015
EventEuropean Congress of Work and Organizational Psychology 2015 - Oslo Kongressenter (OKS) and Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania (RC), Oslo, Norway
Duration: 20 May 201523 May 2015
Conference number: 17th
http://www.eawop.org/ckeditor_assets/attachments/620/program2015.pdf?1436299118 (Conference Program)


ConferenceEuropean Congress of Work and Organizational Psychology 2015
Abbreviated titleEAWOP 2015
Internet address


  • mental models
  • decision-making
  • mental health
  • Australia

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