ABSTRACT Purpose: This article aims at explaining how a decision is made in the first management level, within five different organizations, from different origins - American, Brazilian and Chinese - in different branches of activity. Originality/value: This is an original work, since it goes beyond the frontiers of knowledge about the subject researched, both for its approach and for its practical usefulness in the day-to-day of the decision makers, being useful for both professionals - and decision making - and for companies - on how to improve the decision-making capacity of their managers. Design/methodology/approach: Fifty managers were interviewed, through the application of a qualitative exploratory research, with the collection of data through semi-structured interviews and content analysis as data analysis and treatment technique. Findings: One may conclude that the decision-making of the first level decision-making managers is more rational. Also, the organizational culture, among the studied variables is the one with the greater impact in the way this management level makes the decisions. This influence of the organizational culture contains three important elements: 1. the need of the manager to act procedurally, using the rules and standards of the company, 2. the use of supporting tools for the decision-making and 3. the learning from the current relationship - or from the past one - with their peers. To go deeper in the theme, we suggest the analysis of the influence of gender in decision-making, under the focus of rationality or intuition, in the first level of the managerial function of the organizations.