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Management article
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Reference no. 84208
Authors: W Carl Kester
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 1984

Abstract

An appropriations committee''s job is often complicated by the conflict between managers who favor hard quantitative techniques and those who prefer a softer qualitative analysis when evaluating investment opportunities. Reliance on quantitative analysis--usually involving discounted cash flow--can lead an organization to invest in projects that have little risk but that are also unexciting to strategists. The answer does not lie in favoring either side over the other. Instead, executives need to adopt a new way of thinking that gives a hard analytic edge to the soft side of the argument. They need to think of investment opportunities as future growth options for the company.

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Abstract

An appropriations committee''s job is often complicated by the conflict between managers who favor hard quantitative techniques and those who prefer a softer qualitative analysis when evaluating investment opportunities. Reliance on quantitative analysis--usually involving discounted cash flow--can lead an organization to invest in projects that have little risk but that are also unexciting to strategists. The answer does not lie in favoring either side over the other. Instead, executives need to adopt a new way of thinking that gives a hard analytic edge to the soft side of the argument. They need to think of investment opportunities as future growth options for the company.

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