Emotion Trumps Data for Business Decision Makers: Study

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Big jobs often call for big decisions and decision makers may rely on different elements when it comes to making their choices.

Some require cold, hard facts and others go with their gut.

But according to a new study, business decisions aren’t always “strictly business.”

Fortune Knowledge Group and gyro surveyed 720 senior executives about the role of emotion in business decision-making and many said emotional elements play a large role in their choices.

Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they tend to trust their gut more than big data and 61 percent said they rely on experience over hard analytics.

“With more information comes more complexity,” Jed Hartman, Group Publisher Worldwide of TIME, FORTUNE and MONEY, who oversees the FORTUNE Knowledge Group, said in a statement. “Business decision makers are, of course, using data to their benefit. However when looking to select a business partner, it is clear that emotion plays a vital role. Decision makers do not just want a partner who looks good on paper. They want to create a relationship that can lead to a successful, long-term partnership. As with any relationship, aspects like values, reputation, trust and emotion come to the forefront.”

While data consistently plays a role in decisions, it is more often used as a tool, the survey found.

Nearly two-thirds of executives said subjective factors like a company’s culture or corporate values makes a difference when they’re evaluating competing proposals.

“Business decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally,” Christoph Becker, CEO of gyro said in statement. “A side effect of the tsunami of digital content is, too often, there is an utter lack of human relevance. That is why if you truly want to connect with business decision makers, you must make them feel. That is why you must focus on the ‘why’ of your business, the pure idea. The overwhelming desire to connect to this essence has been, and always will be, incredibly powerful.”

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