Improving Decision Making

3-4 para speaking to the below


In comparing and contrasting the three models of decision making—rational choice, competing values, and judgment heuristics—it is important to understand that these three systems are not incompatible with one another. The rational choice model is a process of decision making based upon identifying and ranking by weight various criterion and alternative solutions (Bazerman, 2006). The competing values model does not imply conflicting values—just differences in perspective and principles (O’Toole, 1993). Judgment heuristics examine the different ways decisions are reached, such as the availability heuristic, the representative heuristic, and the affect heuristic (Kahnemann, 2003; Slovic, Finucane, Peters, & MacGregor, 2002). These three judgment heuristics identify 13 biases that explain how decisions are made. Biases can impede effective decision making and are more easily understood in the context of conflicting values (O’Toole, 1993).



Systematically studying the dynamics of decision making provides an effective means of integrating decision-making systems into complimentary methodologies. The rational choice model provides the process. The competing values model provides overall organizational dynamics. Judgment heuristics model provides the human psychology that underlies decision making in a world increasingly shaped by the seemingly incompatible values of liberty versus equality and community versus efficiency. Rather than conflicting with each other, these three decision-making models support one another in ways that make perfect sense.


Using any single model of decision making is self-limiting. In applied management decision making, the goal is to find valid problem-solving solutions that enhance productivity and overall organizational efficiency. Ultimately, lowering expenses and increasing revenue are the most desired outcomes. In one very real sense, it does not matter how an organization improves its bottom line as long as it does so in a consistent and measurable way. In this case, it is the ends that matter most and not the means.


Effective decision making can be studied scientifically, but it is a practicing art. It is the act of doing those things necessary to get the desired results that make decision makers effective at their jobs not the techniques that are used. Effective decision making also cannot be taken for granted; it is too easy to take shortcuts and fall into the various biases that obscure rationality. Good decision making requires a continuous dedication to the act of making organizational decisions in a continually changing environment in which compromise may be less achievable. 

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