Five characteristics of the types of information used in executive decision-making are lack of structure, high degree of uncertainty, future orientation, informal source and low level of detail.
i) Lack of structure:
Many of the decisions made executives are relatively unstructured. These type of decision are not as clear-cut as deciding how to debug a computer program or how to deal with an overdue account balance. Also, it is not always obvious, which data are required or how to weigh available data when reaching a decision.
ii) High degree of uncertainty:
Executives work in a decision space that is often characterized a lack of precedent. Executives also work in a decision space where results are not scientifically predictable from actions.
iii) Future orientation:
Strategic-planning decisions are made in order to shape future events. As conditions change, organizations must change also. It is the executive‘s responsibility to make sure that the organization keeps pointed toward the future.
iv) Informal source:
Executives, more than other types of managers, rely heavily on informal sources for key information. Informal sources such as television might also feature news of momentous concern to executive – news that he or she would probably never encounter in the company‘s database or in scheduled computer reports.
v) Low level of detail:
Most important executive decisions are made observing broad trends. This requires the executive to be more aware of the large overview than the tiny items. Even so, many executives insist that the answers to some questions can only be found mucking through details.