Organizational Communication

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last updated 3/20/2015

Contemporary Issues in Decision-making


Key processes/problems in decision-making often include:


1.      Information exchange problems

(1)  improper assessment of situation  (St.Agenda. I. and II. issues)

(2)  inappropriate goals  (St.Agenda. I. issues)

(3)  improper assessment of strengths and weakness of all solutions options  (St.Agenda. III. and IV. issues)

(4)  flawed information base  (St. Agenda I.B. issues)

(5)  faulty reasoning based on the information base  (Information Biases)


2.      Social/cohesion problems (groupthink, cascades and shared knowledge effect)

(1)  cohesion from a strong culture causes unthinking use of shared assumptions that may be wrong or inappropriate

(2)  norms of concurrence cause groupthink

(3)  network influences

(1)     centralized networks are efficient but lose information (see systematic distortion of information material)

(2)     decentralized networks are less efficient but make more information available


McGaan's Summary of "What matters in real organizations!"

1.      Locus -- Better decisions are made when the decision-making occurs at the location in the organization where the most knowledge of the problem intersects with the greatest likelihood of experiencing consequences for the decision.


2.      Connectivity  

  1. more information,  

  2. made more readily available

  3. at more levels 

  4. to more people 

produces:   A.  better decisions and B.  better support for decisions once they are made.

3.      Hierarchical structure - can separate authority for decisions from consequences of the decision yielding poorer quality decision-making (for reasons related to the critique of rationality).


4.      Politics - Highly politicized / polarized groups can only focus on methods since ends are in dispute (but strong culture yields common ends and, thus, reduces polarization and organizational politics)