The University of Southampton
Courses

HLTH6079 The Essence of Decision-making

Module Overview

This module focuses on the process of making non-clinical decision-making and judgements, and how to evaluate decisions. We explore the human aspects of decision-making and its impacts on individuals, groups, and organizations. Two days are spent addressing the process of addressing dilemmas—those decisions where difficult trade-offs must be made, and where there are no clear winners. The module is particularly relevant to health care practitioners who want to develop their non-clinical decision making skills, and to help them make principled trade-offs. The module will also appeal to anyone who has an interest in the nature of non-clinical decision making, and who would like to develop or enhance their decision making skills.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To help you understand the psychological, social and organisational processes and problems associated with thinking and decision-making in managerial contexts. The emphases in this module are on (1) Understanding your own decision styles and surfacing your biases in decision-making; (2) Group dynamics and decision-making; (3) Approaches to organizational decision-making; and (4) Decision-making theory. Ultimately, the module intends to help you understand the quality of decisions, and the extent to which decisions achieve utility (a numerical measure of “good”). We explore the complexities of managerial thinking and decision-making, the trade-off between rationality and intuition, and the critical role of various contextual influences. Current theories and approaches in understanding managerial thinking and decision-making are explored as are issues associated with group decision-making, conflict and negotiation. The role of structured methods and tools (such as scenario planning, net present value, internal rate of return, etc.) are considered in organizational decision-making. The logic of the module will take you through the individual and decision-making, how decisions are made in groups (and how your decisions affect others), decision-making in organizations, and theories and approaches to decision-making. We aim to provide you with personal insight into your decision-making styles, practical approaches to decision-making that you can use in your practice, and theoretical considerations that can serve as an intellectual scaffolding to help you make, and evaluate, decisions in the future. This module is informed and builds upon three modules: Leading Self (HLTH6076); Leading Others (HLTH6075), and Strategic Management (HLTH6125).

Syllabus

• Day 1: The Individual and the Decision • What is the essence of a decision? • Identifying your personal decision-making style • Uncovering personal biases in decision making • Attention biases • Availability • Heuristics • One-aspect focus • Motivational biases • Psycho-physical distortions • Moral thinking, values and fairness • Judgement • Day 2: The Group and the Decision • Group dynamics and decision-making • Idealized and realistic models of group decisions • Participatory decision making • Emotional intelligence and deciding • Day 3: The Organization and the Decision • Structured methods • Decision-making under conditions of complexity and uncertainty • Scenario analysis • Strategic options appraisal • Fiscal decision-making • Day 4: Decision-Making and Design • Reference dependence and choice • Design science • Intelligent design • Day 5: Decision-Making Workshop • Addressing social and organizational dilemmas • Participatory decision-making, revisited: deciding the architecture of a service design with service users (workshop with invited service users) • Reflecting on and evaluating decisions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The conduct of the modules is informed by the following principles: • Learning should be relevant to practitioners and their work environments • Practitioners should be given experience and learn through errors • As much as is practical, practitioners should be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction • Instruction should be problem-centred In practice, this means that we will keep lectures to an absolute minimum, and will instead adhere to these principles through practice-based and activity-driven classroom time that both delineate and make real various theories and approaches to decision-making. We will give ample opportunity to participants to construct both decisions and designs, and to analyse, criticise and evaluate those designs. The instructors will act more like facilitators than lecturers. For example, rather than lecturing on decision bias, we will instead engage in activities that produce (unknowing to the participant) biased decisions. Then we will explore the theory and research behind bias. In another context, we will ask participants to make decisions under conditions of extreme complexity. Participants will quickly realise that they need structured tools, and we will then offer structured tools and approaches as the participants come to need them (this is so-called ‘just-in-time’ learning). The idea is that we want to make the learning real, and the tools and approaches useful and salient. When possible, we want to involve service users in the learning activities. This is especially important on the last day when participants will make decisions on a service architecture with service user involvement, and then reflecting on the process of participatory decision-making.

TypeHours
Lecture36
Preparation for scheduled sessions164
Completion of assessment task50
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Samuelson, W. & Zeckhauser, R.J. (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of risk and uncertainty. ,1 , pp. 7 - 59.

Nisbett, R. E., Fong, G. T., Lehman, D. R., and Cheng, P. W. (1987). Teaching reasoning. Science. ,238 , pp. 625–631.

Gawande, Atul (207). The Checklist. The New Yorker. ,83, no. 39 , pp. 86-­95.

Keeney, R. L., & Raiffa, H. (1993). Decisions with multiple objectives: Preference and value tradeoffs.. 

Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. 

Norman, Donald (1990). The Design of Everyday Things. 

Tversky, A. & Kahneman, B. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science. ,185 , pp. 1124-1131.

Allwood, C.M. & Salo, I. (2012). Decision-Making styles and stress. International Journal of Stress Management. ,19 , pp. 34-47.

Lord, C.G., Ross, L. & Lepper, M.R. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. ,37 , pp. 2098-2109.

Ainslie, G. (1975). Specious reward: A behavioral theory of impulsiveness and impulse control.. Psychological Bulletin. ,82 , pp. 463–496.

Raelin, J.A. (202). Dialogue and deliberation as expressions of democratic leadership in participatory organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change and Management. ,25 , pp. 7-23.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1984). Choices, values, and frames. American Psychologist. ,39 , pp. 341–350.

Stroop, John R (1935). Studies of Interference in Serial Verbal Reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology. ,12 , pp. 643-62.

Shoemaker, PJH (1995). Scenario planning: A tool for strategic thinking. Sloan Management Review. ,36 , pp. 25-40.

Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H (1986). Fairness and the assumptions of economics. Journal of Business. ,59 , pp. S285-S300.

Kaheman, D. & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica. ,47 , pp. 263-291.

Sabini, J., & Silver, M. (1981). Moralities of everyday life. 

Silver, M., Sabini, J., & Miceli, M. (1989). On knowing self-deception. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior. ,19 , pp. 213–227.

Sunstein, C. R. (2005). Moral heuristics (with commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. ,28 , pp. 531–573.

Zeliadt, Steven B., Scott D. Ramsey, David F. Penson, Ingrid J. Hall, Donatus U. Ekwueme, Leonard Stroud, and Judith W. Lee (2006). Why Do Men Choose One Treatment over Another. Cancer. ,106 , pp. 1865-74.

Dawes, R. M. (1980). Social dilemmas. Annual Review of Psychology. ,31 , pp. 169–193.

Hardin, R. (2009). How do you know? The economics of ordinary knowledge. 

Kramer, R. (1991). The more the merrier? Social psychological aspects of multiparty negotiations. In Bazerman, M. Lewicki, R and Heppard, B Handbook of negotiation research: Research on negotiation in organisations. 

Grove, W.M. Meehl, P.E. (1989). Comparative efficiency of informal (subjective, impressionistic) and formal (mechanical, algorithmic) prediction procedures: The clinical-statistical controversy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. ,2 , pp. 293-323.

Farmar-Bowers, Q (2010). Understanding the strategic decisions women make in farming families. Journal of Rural Studies. ,26 , pp. 141-151.

Alloy, L. and Abramson, L. (1979). Judgement of contingency in depressed and non-depressed students: Sadder but wiser?. Journal of experimental psychology. ,108 , pp. 441-485.

Popper, K. R. (1962). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. 

French, S. (2012). Expert judgment, meta-analysis and expert risk analysis. Decision analysis. ,9 , pp. 119-127.

Margolis, H (1987). Patterns, thinking, and cognition: a theory of judgment. 

Dawes, R. M., Faust, D., & Meehl, P. E. (1989). Clinical versus actuarial judgment. Science. ,243 , pp. 1668–1674.

Caughron, J.J. & Mumford, M.D. (2012). Embedded leadership: How do a leader’s superiors impact middle-management performance?. Leadership Quarterly. ,23 , pp. 342-353.

Kuhn, D. (1989). Children and adults as intuitive scientists. Psychological Review. ,96 , pp. 674–689.

Allison, G. & Zelikow, P. (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Taylor, S.. Positive illusions. 

Cornwall, E.Y., & Hans, V.P. (2011). Representation through participation: A Multilevel analysis of jury deliberations. Law and Society Review. ,45 , pp. 667-698.

Akinci, C. & Sadler-Smith, E. (2012). Intuition in Management Research: A Historical Review. International Journal of Management Reviews. ,14 , pp. 104-122.

Raiffa, H. (1982). The art and science of negotiation. 

Do you suffer from decision fatigue?.

Mudrack, P.E., Bloodgood, J.M., & Turnley, W.H., (2012). Some ethical implications of individual competitiveness. Journal of Business Ethics. ,108 , pp. 347-359.

Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (1998). Individual differences in rational thought. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. ,127 , pp. 161–188.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1973). On the psychology of prediction. Psychological Review. ,80 , pp. 237–251.

Frank, R. H. (1988). Passions within reason: The strategic role of the emotions. 

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica. ,47 , pp. 263–291.

Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1990). Experimental tests of the endowment effect and the Coase theorem.. Journal of Political Economy. ,98 , pp. 1325–1348.

Baron, J. (1998). Thinking and Deciding. 

Dawes, R. M., & Thaler, R. H. (1988). Cooperation. Journal of Economic Perspectives. ,2 , pp. 187–197.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science. ,211 , pp. 453–458.

Choice architecture..

Schelling, T. C. (1978). Micromotives and macrobehavior. 

Kahneman, D., & Knetsch, J. L. (1992). Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. ,22 , pp. 57–70.

Thaler, R (1985). Using mental accounting in a theory of purchasing behaviour. 

Johnston, J.H., Driskell, J.E., & Salas, E. (1997). Vigilant and hypervigilent decision making. Journal of Applied Psychology. ,82 , pp. 614-622.

Keeney, R. L. (1992). Value-focused thinking: A path to creative decisionmaking. 

Assessment

Formative

One page problem statement

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

There are no cost implications for this module. Students can purchase Baron, J. (1998) Thinking and Deciding (3rd ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) if they wish, but this is not necessary

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×