Patterns of influence in management decision making : analysis of decision processes in four types of Brazilian organizations
The distribution of influence in organizational decisions is analysed in relation to institutional frameworks and characteristics inherent to decision topics. Distribution of influence is defined as the concentration of participants in decision process and their specific capability to influence decision outcomes. This definition encompasses two dimensions which are: participation in the decision processes and effective influence upon the decision outcomes. Institutional frameworks are distinguished according to the loci of their genesis and existence, that are: the focal organization the task-environment and the larger social context. Six characteristics inherent to decision topics are identified as related to variables defined as properties of decision. The analysis is carried out at two distinct stages. At the first stage, it examines the relationships of the institutional frameworks - existing at the organization and the task environment level - and of the properties of decisions with the distribution of influence in decision processes. At the second stage, the patterns of influence that emerged out of the first stage of analysis are analysed in terms of cultural traits prevailing in Brazilian society. The results point to variation in the distribution of influence in decision processes associated with factors of the taskenvironment, of the context of the organizations and characteristics inherent to decision topics. But they do not provide a wholly satisfactory explanation of such variation. A more general pattern of influence in management decisionmahing, characterized by low level of participation and high centre of influence in decision processes, appears as the dominant profile of the distribution of influence in Brazilian organizations. Interpreted in the light of the Brazilian social context, this pattern of influence in management decision making shows pervasive cultural traits, identified in the macro social system. Comparing the patterns of influence in management decisionmaking in Brazil and Britain, similarities and differences come to light. The comparative analysis corroborates the argument that patterns of influence in management decision making are bound to contingent as much as to institutional factors.