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49001 Judgment And Decision Making

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49001 Judgment And Decision Making

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49001 Judgment And Decision Making

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Course Code: 49001
University: University Of Technology Sydney is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia

Write an abstract for the four nominated readings in the Reading Material and Exercises book (RME). The nominated readings for the current study session are listed below.
Section 1: Readings 1.1, March, J.G. (1994) Chapter 2 (part), ‘Rule following’, in A Primer on Decision Making, The Free Press, NY. (RME Page 5)
Section 4: Reading 4.1, Whittaker, J.(1991), ‘A reappraisal of probabilistic risk analysis’, Engineering Management Journal, 3(3). (RME Page 129)
Section 6: Reading 6.4, Callahan, J.C. (1988), ‘Case: Leaking an investigation report’ in Ethical Issues in Professional Life, Oxford University Press, Oxford. (RME Page 279)
Section 7: Reading 7.3, Jains, I.L. (1971), ‘Groupthink’, Psychology Today, Novemeber. (RME Page 343)

Ultimate decision-making should be made as a subject to rule following and the actualization of an identity. When faced with a situation, an organization or individual follows a prescribed rules or procedures to manage the situation. Nowhere do the consequences or expectations of the actions fit in the picture (March, 1994).
Rule following follows obeys certain fundamentals, which include recognizing the situation (recognition), understanding the kind of organization or individual faced with the situation (identity), and the prescribed procedure when faced with that particular situation (rules). This process is systematic and is often quite complicated (March, 1994).
Rules and identities provide with a foundation for decision-making. Basing decisions on a rule-based framework responds to certain questions. This include how situations are interpreted and recognized, how organizational identities are defined, how this definitions and identities are created and changed, their preservation, how the link between a situation and identities are made, and why are the rules what they are (March, 1994).
By the mere fact that organizations and individuals follow prescribed rules and identity does not mean that the action are always predictable. A rule-based behavior is one that is encroached with uncertainty. The situation, the rules, and the identity are often ambiguous. As such, decision makers use the process of recognition to identify a situation, the process of self-awareness to clarify identity, and a process of search and recall to link a situation to appropriate rules. These processes are standard instruments of intelligent human behavior that call for care, thought, judgment, and some imagination. They must be reasoned out (March, 1994).
A rule based decision-making process is different from a rational decision making process as the process itself first identifies the prevailing situation and later matches it to various recognized situations (March, 1994).
Relating to work experience
Often in my line of work as a site engineer, situations emerge that require my input. Some of them are authentic and some are rather unethical. At such a point, one is faced with a decision that may compromise the integrity of the entire project or at times forced to drop the client. For instance, I was recenctly faced with a client who was focused on saving on costs through all means possible even if it meant compromising on the safety of the employees and other illegal measures. He was willing to pay more than the contract stipulated which translated to a bribe if I cooperated with these measures.
However, this was primarily an unethical behavior. As an organization, we are all about the integrity of our work and by agreeing to these measures meant that this would no longer be the case. This defied all the rules and regulations in place governing the code of conduct. It was better to lose the client than compromise our entire organizations for a few more dollars. We opted to lose the account.
A reappraisal of probabilistic risk analysis
Probabilistic risk analysis was introduced as a means to highlight the safety of technological hazards. However, deeper analyses of the probabilistic risk analysis reveal several serious flaws that include incompleteness, inappropriateness, inaccuracy, and incompleteness. The author of this article offers criticism on the use of probability calculus, fault tree analysis, and the model of acceptable risk for addressing issues regarding public safety (Whittaker, 1991).
The argument offered regarding probabilistic risk analysis are not sufficient as it attempts to convince the public that it should not be concerned about various hazards. The probabilistic risk analysis is meant to be used as a rational, objective, as well as a scientific method to address public safety. The method uses the fault tree technique and the probability theory to calculate failure for an engineering system (Whittaker, 1991).
Fault trees are an inadequate technique, the figures used are erroneous on incomplete, the decision logic used is unsuitable. The end sockets used in the formula are impracticable as real mishaps are more common and less severe than the analysis would reveal. The original application of the fault tree was to evaluate complex system designs by anticipating causes of failure and instead instituting measures to prevent such failure (Whittaker, 1991).
Research reveals that most calamities happen because of the unpredicted interaction of the diverse components. However, fault tree analysis is linear in nature and may mostly fail to account for the unexpected interaction effects. As a result, an accident is ruled out as impractical just like the Three Mile Island contract where the temperature inside the reactor went as high as 2300 degreed but the computer was designed to record temperature not exceeding 700 degrees (Whittaker, 1991).
The method is instrumental in accounting for technical and technological factors that are likely to result in accidents but overlooks the human factor in regards to accidents. Issues such as fatigue, depression, emotional stress, and illness are not captured in the fault tree analysis. The method only works if the method captures all possible causes of risks, which is practically impossible (Whittaker, 1991).
Practical example
I am a site engineer, which mean that on most occasions am on the field inspecting on the progress of various projects or rendering advice on particular projects. The purpose of the fault tree analysis as I understand it is that it is expected to capture all possible risk scenarios and put in place measures to mitigate against the risks. In as much as I am expected to go through the details of the entire project at times we cannot go about physically inspecting all the points as we are not on the ground on a round the clock basis. At times working under duress with strict deadlines that must be met especially when the project is already behind schedule, those in charge of actual construction can opt for less desirable means to get the project on tract. This means the integrity of the project may be compromised as the human factor in the project cannot be fully accounted for.
Case: Leaking an investigatory report
Case: Group Think
In most cases group thinking often take precedence at the expense of critical thinking. In regards to group, thinking and its impact on national policies have revealed that groups behave in the manner they do for several reasons. Most of the members share an illusion of invulnerability providing them with the reassurance about obvious dangers as such the members are overoptimistic and are willing to take extraordinary risk. This often makes them overlook even the most pronounced warning signs. Often victims of groupthink ignore warnings and instead rationalize their actions instead of reconsidering their assumptions. The victims of groupthink are also very confident in the integral morality of their group; as such, they often overlook the ethical or moral consequences of their resolutions. Stereotypes such as assuming the weakness of the enemy group based on stereotypes have also influenced the decision-making process sin groups. The navy commanders in Hawaii had a naïve image about the Japanese, which cost them dearly. There is pressure to individuals who momentarily express doubts about a given cause of action favored by the majority in the group. This in turn reinforces the norms of concurrence seeking in a group setting. With time, most victims of groupthink evade differing from what seems to be a group consent. They stay quiet and instead let issues pass through despite their misgivings on various issues. There is a shared illusion of unanimity within the group in regards to all judgments expressed by the majority. This is backed by the assumption that those who remain silent are in support of the motion being passed. When there is substantial backing of an issue by a group of members sharing respect for each other, members often agree with the belief. This reliance on consensual validation therefore replaces individual critical thinking and reality testing. To avoid disagreements in the ranks of the groups, members are inclined to avert latent disagreements from surfacing when they are about a risky cause of action. Group members appoint themselves as mind guards whose function is to protect the leader and other members from disagreements that may cause them to reevaluate previous decisions (Janis, 1971).
Personal experience
Groups comprised of various stakeholders in the project often handle projects at work. All decisions made in the past have not always being the right. Just because the majority made a decision does not mean that that particular decision is the correct one. We recently had a long meeting about an ongoing project, which had hit a snag; the issue in question had elicited different feelings among the stakeholders. Since the meeting was a crisis meeting, the meeting exceeded the scheduled two hours initially stated. The members were also engaged in the discussion regarding the issue. As time passed, members became rather quiet and issues were raised and passed without exhaustive consultation. The only interest in the people was to get over with the issue and leave. People were turning against members of the groups who were raising issues that were contrary to the common decision. As a result the integrity of the project was compromised.
Works Cited
Janis, I. L., 1971. Groupthink. Psychology Today , p. 343.
March, J. G., 1994. Rule Following: A Primer on Decision Making. New York : The Free Press .
Whittaker, J., 1991. A reappraisal of probabilistic risk analysis. Engineering Management Journal , 3(3), p. 129.

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