Political behavior, intuition and rationality play important roles in strategic decision making. However, a framework that specifically accounts for the interplay between these dimensions is still missing. This study addresses this gap by using a configurational approach and conceptualizes the interplay of political behavior, intuition and rationality as a combination of key dimensions that lead to strategic decision effectiveness. The study presumes that the dimensions can combine in different ways to achieve this outcome. We draw on a serious game and interviews with decision makers to explore this interplay. Our empirical data suggest that different configurations of dimensions lead to decision effectiveness. The fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis’ solutions are resembled by the combinations found in the content analysis. Practically, we enable decision makers to recognize the patterns that unfold during the formulation phase of the strategic decision- making process. This allows them to determine whether the observed interplay is likely to lead to an effective decision and act upon it. Theoretically, the research reveals more variety in the pathways to achieve strategic decision effectiveness than vested research has brought to light.