Organizational Communication

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last updated 3/13/2015


  •   Typical Description of the (rational) Decision-making Process  -- Optimizing
    [ for an alternative see the Standard Agenda, based on John Dewey's problem-solving system ]

  1.  Formulation -- defining what the problem is --felt need -- symptoms and causes of problems

  2. Concept Development -- determining what standards/criteria govern a good solution and generating decision alternatives

  3. Detailing -- gaining all appropriate information

  4. Evaluation -- applying criteria to determine best decision

  5. Implementation -- putting the decision into action

  I.  The Myth of Rationality - This is what our culture values but it isn't achieved in real life. 

In order to presume rationality we must assume:

  1.       The pre-existence of purpose - We determine goals in advance, carefully

  2.       The necessity of consistency - We act always in ways consistent with our beliefs, values, etc.

  3.       The primacy of rational outcomes - We make decisions based on the likelihood of probable effects rather than intuition or faith in tradition or some other non-empirical factor

  II.  Why we can't be rational

1.      Bounded rationality - we have limited information and limited ability to analyze it so we can't ever fully accomplish 2 and 3 above.  Instead we decide by ** . 

** Satisficing - getting enough information to have a preference, getting by.

2.      We tend to allow our preferences to influence our guesses about  probable outcomes -- and the saliency of certain values changes over time,  thus making “the primacy of rationality” (above) unlikely.  Information Biases

3.      Social Pressures and emotional involvement vary and affect our interest in acquiring and evaluating information, etc.   Symptoms of Groupthink

   III.  Why we aren't rational in real life

1.      we act first and then rationalize goals to fit the action.

2.      employees tend to know their own abilities and suggest solutions that use those abilities when it seems that they might be chosen.

3.      Social factors influence how we process and analyze information and assess solutions, including: Groupthink, shared knowledge effects and information cascades.