Chaos theory, economics and information: the implications for strategic decision making

Tim Hayward, Judy Broady-Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (SciVal)


Traditionally, rational models of decision-making assume perfect information is available to the manager. In reality, the paradox of rationality is that full information relates only to the past; choices for the future must be of limited rationality as the future contains both risk and uncertainty.
An analysis of rationality and uncertainty in relation to decision-making, therefore leads to a consideration of Chaos Theory. Whilst recognising that the future is unknowable, nonetheless, Chaos Theory allows for the possibility of an awareness of a range of future states. In addition, it suggests that complete and accurate information, so necessary for rational decision-making, is unobtainable, and the past is not an accurate guide to the future.
Thus, the terms of reference for strategic management should be changed; conditions must be created whereby effective learning takes place, from which new strategies may or may not emerge. Managers should not problem-solve their way out of chaos, instead, generate bold solutions which integrate all the information. Information is thus activating a process by which strategy can emerge from across all levels of the organisation, to provide at least some structured futures thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 1999


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