The Hidden Traps In Decision Making

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Cognition Pages: 4 (1352 words) Published: November 30, 2013

The Hidden Traps In Decision Making
Hammond, John S., Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa.
Harvard Business Review
January 2006, Vol. 84 Issue 1, p. 118-126

Decision-making is apart of our every day routine. Making the right or wrong decisions can have a significant impact on our careers, health, education and almost all aspects of life. Before devising a strategic course of action, wise managers evaluate the situation confronting them. Making the right decisions is the most important function of any business executive. Making the wrong decisions can sometimes lead to irreparable consequences for a business or a managers career. Smart Choice’s by Hammond, John S., Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa, provides an in depth analysis to offer evidence to why and where these bad decisions come from. Were the alternatives clearly defined? Was the right information to make the proper decision collected? These errors are just a few examples of the many that occur in the decision making process.

Very often the reason for bad decision-making is because of errors or miss-steps in the decision making process, as I have briefly noted. However, sometimes it is mind of the decision maker who is at fault in contrast to the decision making process. Hammond et al has revealed that we use unconscious routines to cope with the complexity inherent in most decisions. These routines are known as “heuristics”. Heuristics can benefit in many situations but in contrast can be misperceived. Another trap is the irrational anaomlies in our thinking. Both flaws are engraved into our thinking process and consequentially we fail to recognize them and ignore them. Pyschological traps can undermine the most carefully considered decisions, and may be even more dangerous than the eight most common errors in decision making listed in Smart Choice’s. “The best protection against these traps is awareness”.

Overlying on the first thoughts is otherwise known as the “anchoring...
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