MG455      Half Unit
Decisions, Biases and Nudges

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Barbara Fasolo MAR 5.27


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Human Resource Management/CIPD), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations/CIPD), 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 capped, and if place is available, it can be taken available as an outside option to students on any other programmes where regulations permit and is complementary to other behavioural courses offered at LSE

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.

Note for Auditors: Due to the experiential nature of the course and groupwork required, this course is not suitable for auditing


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, in-class activities 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? 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 theoretical 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 applied 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 ‘debiasing’ to ‘choice architecture.

The course is entirely seminar-based and balances theory, experiments and applications. 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.


2 hours of lectures and 22 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the WT.

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

Formative coursework

1. Group submission of mid-term progress on Decision Canvas (Group project) (week 5). Over several weeks (both in and outside class), you will work as a group to analyse a real decision that you will select. Students will submit progress on the group-work that they have done as a group in the first part of the course with the use of the ‘Decision Canvas’. After the submission they will receive feedback as a group. This feedback will help you prepare for the summative Group project submission.

2. Individual review of anonymous essays (Week 7). Students will play the role of the “examiner” and review the anonymous essays (submitted by students from a previous year) by implementing the marking criteria which we use in this course. This exercise will help you develop your essay.

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


Essay (75%, 2000 words) in the ST.
Project (25%) in the WT.

Group Project (25%) in week 11. Over several weeks (both in and outside class), you will work as a group to analyse a real decision that you will select. In Week 11, groups submit their project on Moodle and give a short timed presentation of the decision, the bias and behavioural interventions recommended for the decision problem investigated with the ‘Decision Canvas’

Individual Essay (75% 2000 words) (due beginning of ST): In the Essay (no more than 2,000 words) you will zoom in on a particular aspect of the course, or of the Decision Canvas which you as a developing behavioural scientist have found intriguing (e.g. decision frame, a judgement, a bias, a de-biasing or choice architecture technique). This is done in a scholarly and rigorous manner. You will be required to provide full essay-style referencing.

PDAM skills

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

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2022/23: 51

Average class size 2022/23: 26

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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