Decision making is a central aspect of virtually every management and business activity. Important decisions are not only made by managers and entrepreneurs, but also by the consumers of their goods and services, and by their business rivals, partners and employees. The ability to understand how decisions are made, and to predict, guide and improve those decisions will be an invaluable part of every manager’s toolbox. It is this ability that will be developed in this course.
Some decisions are impossible to make analytically, for lack of time, data, computational ability, or awareness. These are situations that could put decision makers at risk of falling into systematic biases and errors. The first part of this course will raise your awareness about these ‘traps’ with a view to becoming a better intuitive decision maker.
Other decisions are made with and require extensive thought and analysis, as the stakes are high, there are multiple conflicting objectives to balance, and many sources of uncertainty about the future. To these decisions we will devote the second half of the course. Here you will learn how to structure decision problems, identify relevant objectives and make trade-offs among them when objectives are in conflict with one another, as well as represent and analyse the main uncertainties and risks involved in a decision.
Learn how to choose in tough situations where stakes are high, and there are multiple conflicting objectives
Gain awareness of the common ‘decision traps’ we fall into
Understand why projects often take us longer and cost more than planned, and explore ways to get rid of this problem
Increase your knowledge of how we perceive risk, and how to act when there are risks and uncertainties involved in a decision
Enhance your ability to create options that are better than the ones originally available
Understand how to avoid decision traps and become a better decision maker.
In lectures you will engage with cutting-edge research in decision-making and analysis. In class, you will then investigate how it can be applied to both business and personal life.
Amongst the many topics considered will be:
Decision maker and consumer behaviour
Decision making by groups and organisations
Evidence-based decision making.
You will also learn how to use sound decision-making principles and simple decision-analytic tools to make better decisions. The course requires active participation in classroom activities that bring to life the principles being discussed.
Professionals with at least two years of work experience may wish to consider the Executive Summer School course: Strategic Decision Making for Management
Bazerman, M. and Moore, D.A., Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. New York: Wiley. 8th edition (2013).
Goodwin, P and Wright, G. (2009) Decision Analysis for Management Judgment. Chichester, Wiley, 4th Ed.
Hammond, Keeney and Raiffa, Smart Choices. Harvard Business School Press: Boston. (1999)
These texts are recommended for background reading, and as a resource. Throughout the course chapters and articles will be assigned and distributed electronically.
*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme
**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice