MG455 Half Unit
Decisions, Biases and Nudges
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
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.
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.
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.
- 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): The summative assessment will be a ‘Report (part 1) and Essay’ (part 2). In the report (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. In the Essay (no more than 2,000 words) 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. The report will count for 25% of your mark while 75% will come from the Essay. You will be required to provide full essay-style referencing. Although the report will tackle the decision problems presented in groups, all students will write reports and essays on their own and receive an individual mark.
- team working
- problem solving
- application of information skills
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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.
Total students 2020/21: 78
Average class size 2020/21: 26
Controlled access 2020/21: Yes
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills