Decision-making in the pharmaceutical industry: Analysis of entrepreneurial risk and attitude using uncertain information

Ivor Cowlrick, Thomas Hedner, Roland Wolf, Michael Olausson, Magnus Klofsten

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The main purpose of this study was to investigate judgments made by employees from the pharmaceutical industry and allied health-care sectors in a set of four different drug discovery and development cases derived from real scenarios. Each case study related to go/no-go decisions taken from various steps in drug discovery through preclinical and clinical development (investigational new drug) on to market introduction (new drug application) and treatment of the target population. Using a web-based questionnaire, 52 respondents made five sets of judgment within each drug case whether to continue or halt further project development. For each case, additional details of the developmental scenario were disclosed to the respondent after completion of each judgment response. We also assessed to what extent the individual judgments given by the respondents were influenced by work experience and functional role, education, or their perceived entrepreneurial character. Our study demonstrates that health-care employees differ substantially in their individual intuitive judgments of benefit and risk in go/no-go decisions during the drug discovery and development process. This lack of coherence and wide variability with respect to the drug development cases selected may reflect judgment in the real world. Such judgments are usually taken from incomplete information, and individual decision-making rules vary substantially between experts in the field. Further knowledge about this inherent human functional judgment variability may be helpful to form a better understanding of individual decision-making in relation to inherent uncertainties. Additional research may also clarify how personal experience within drug discovery and development influences judgment and help to optimize decision outcomes in the drug development sector. Importantly, a deeper insight of the fundamentals and rules that shape individual and group decision-making of everyday drug discovery and development may help to optimize the decision processes in the pharmaceutical industry. R&D Management

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-336
    Number of pages16
    JournalR and D Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • General Business,Management and Accounting
    • Strategy and Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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