Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happenby James G. March
Pub. Date: 01/23/2009
Publisher: Free Press
Building on lecture notes from his acclaimed course at Stanford University, James March provides a brilliant introduction to decision making, a central human activity fundamental to individual, group, organizational, and societal life. March draws on research from all the disciplines of social and behavioral science to show decision making in its broadest context.… See more details below
Building on lecture notes from his acclaimed course at Stanford University, James March provides a brilliant introduction to decision making, a central human activity fundamental to individual, group, organizational, and societal life. March draws on research from all the disciplines of social and behavioral science to show decision making in its broadest context. By emphasizing how decisions are actually made as opposed to how they should be made he enables those involved in the process to understand it both as observers and as participants.
March sheds new light on the decision-making process by delineating four deep issues that persistently divide students of decision making: Are decisions based on rational choices involving preferences and expected consequences, or on rules that are appropriate to the identity of the decision maker and the situation? Is decision making a consistent, clear process or one characterized by ambiguity and inconsistency? Is decision making significant primarily for its outcomes, or for the individual and social meanings it creates and sustains? And finally, are the outcomes of decision processes attributable solely to the actions of individuals, or to the combined influence of interacting individuals, organizations, and societies? March's observations on how intelligence is or is not achieved through decision making, and possibilities for enhancing decision intelligence, are also provided.
March explains key concepts of vital importance to students of decision making and decision makers, such as limited rationality, history-dependent rules, and ambiguity, and weaves these ideas into a full depiction of decision making.
He includes a discussion of the modern aspects of several classic issues underlying these concepts, such as the relation between reason and ignorance, intentionality and fate, and meaning and interpretation.
This valuable textbook by one of the seminal figures in the history of organizational decision making will be required reading for a new generation of scholars, managers, and other decision makers.
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Table of Contents
1. Limited Rationality
The Idea of Rational Choice
Limited (or Bounded) Rationality
Theories of Attention and Search
Risk and Risk Taking
2. Rule Following
Decision Making as Rule Following
Rules, Identities, and Action
Rule Development and Change
Appropriate Rules or Consequential Choice?
3. Multiple Actors: Teams and Partners
Interpersonal Consistency and Teams
Social Bases of Inconsistencies
4. Multiple Actors: Conflict and Politics
Decisions and Power
Decisions and Coalitions
Participation and Decision Instabilities
Single Actors and Multiple Actors
5. Ambiguity and Interpretation
Order and Ambiguity in Decision Making
Ambiguous Bases of Decision Making
Loose Coupling in Organizations
Garbage Can Decision Process
Decision Making and the Construction of Meaning
Ambiguity and Understanding
6. Decision Engineering
Defining Decision Intelligence
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