MG455      Half Unit
Decisions, Biases and Nudges

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Barbara Fasolo


This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Human Resource Management/CIPD), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations and Human Resource Management), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Marketing, MSc in Operations Research & Analytics, MSc in Risk and Finance and Master of Public Policy. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is available as an outside option to students on any  other programmes where regulations permit and is complementary to other behavioural courses offered at LSE, including MG456, which focuses on Decision Analysis.

Note for Exchange students: You can take this course if your programme deadlines do not conflict with the beginning of the summer term deadline for MG455 summative coursework.


It is an advantage to have had an introductory social science course in one of these fields: economics, management, psychology or sociology.

It is important to be comfortable with multi-disciplinary research and group work.

Course content

This course introduces students to Behavioural Decision Science: the science that explains and predicts how humans make decisions (the decision ‘process’) and how well (the decision ‘outcome’). The course will focus on the process, and unveil the subtle and sometimes unconscious influences played by our mind (biases) and the context in which decisions are faced: What has been chosen in the past? Is there positive or negative affect - perhaps because of risk and uncertainty? Can AI be involved? All of these (and more) are factors that often determine how information is searched before choosing, how decisions are made, and the quality of the decision made.

In the first part of the course, you will be guided to the scientific language of decisions, judgments and biases, and learn how to elaborate on behavioural science articles. In the second part of the course, you will work as a group and apply the steps of our proprietary tool ‘Decision Canvas’ to improve a real decision that you will select, applying different behavioural interventions – from ‘process nudges’ to ‘debiasing’ and ‘choice architecture.

The course is entirely seminar-based and balances theory, evidence and experience. It involves group-work throughout the course. We will alternate teaching with interactive activities designed to observe and feel the process of decision making from the ‘inside’, before reviewing behavioural decision theories and evidence from lab and field studies. Students will be able to apply the decision making skills acquired across different sectors and domains (e.g., managerial, policy, health, consumer).

The assessment is designed to give students the opportunity to work as a group and apply their new skills to support a real decision, as well as produce, individually, a rigorous and scholarly report on a specific aspect of decision making, of their interest.


25 hours of seminars in the LT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

1. Individual review of anonymous summative assessments (Week 10). Students will play the role of the “examiner” and review the anonymous summative assessments (submitted by students from a previous year) by implementing the marking criteria which we use in this course. This exercise will help you improve your summative assessment.

2. A short and timed group presentation (week 11). You will give a brief group presentation of all the group-work that you have done in the second part of the course with the use of the ‘Decision Canvas’. After the presentation you will receive feedback as a group. This feedback will help you prepare for the summative assessment.

Indicative reading

  • Bazerman, M. (2017) Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. New York: Wiley. 8th edition;
  • Kahneman, D. (2011) Thinking Fast and Slow. London: Allen Lane;
  • Russo, J. E. & Schoemaker, P. J. H. (2002) Winning decisions: How to make the right decision the first time, Piatkus Publ. Limited.
  • Larrick, R.P. (2004). Debiasing (Chapter 16). In D.J. Koehler, & N. Harvey, Blackwell Handbook of Judgement and Decision Making. Malden: Blackwell Publishing


Coursework (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Summative (due beginning of ST): It will comprise two parts. In Part 1 (no more than 1,000 words), you will be asked to report on the decision, the bias and behavioural interventions recommended within the ‘Decision Canvas’ work that you did with your group. Part 2 (no more than 2,000 words) will be an essay where you will zoom in on a particular aspect of the decision process (e.g. decision frame, a judgement, a bias, a de-biasing or choice architecture technique) which you as a developing behavioural scientist have found intriguing and important (be it as a ‘buddy’ or as a ‘decision maker’). This is done in a scholarly and rigorous manner. Part 1 will count for 25% of your mark while 75% will come from Part 2. You will be required to provide full essay-style referencing. Although the summative assignment will tackle the decision problems presented in groups, all students will write both parts of the summative assessment on their own and receive an individual mark.

PDAM skills

  • self-management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • application of information skills
  • communication

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2019/20: 60

Average class size 2019/20: 20

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication