Decision Making in the Workplace: A Unified Perspective

By Lee Roy Beach | Go to book overview

goal to the present situation. If such a sequence can be constructed, it becomes a feasible scenario worthy of being submitted to the compatibility test to see if it meets the decision maker's standards.

More commonly, however, the focus is less on the goal than on the present state of affairs and how they can be changed in order to achieve a goal. The resulting scenario bridges forward from the present to the goal. If such a sequence of actions and events can be constructed, it too becomes a feasible scenario worthy of being submitted to the compatibility test to see if it fits with the images.

This view of scenario generation has some interesting implications when a scenario is under consideration for adoption as a plan. For example, Jungermann ( 1985) suggested that those parts of the scenario that lie furthest in the sequence from the starting point tend to be the least clearly formulated. Thus we would expect that difficulties in implementing the scenario would be concentrated earlier or later, depending upon whether the scenario had been constructed backward or forward. Moreover, forecasts must be updated more frequently for plans that grew from forward-generated scenarios because, in contrast to the clarity of the goal in backward-generated scenarios, forward- generated scenarios are ambiguous in the vicinity of the goal, and it is not clear that continued implementation of the plan actually will achieve what is desired.

In the workplace the location of ambiguity in scenarios is readily apparent. Planning committees that begin with the goal and work backward often fail to get things started because they have no idea what the requisite first steps might be. Similarly, committees that work in the other direction may not specify what constitutes success. That is, because goals often are abstract states ("a leader in our industry"), it may be unclear how to know when you have achieved them. Because of this ambiguity, it may be extremely difficult to know if the plan is making progress, or, perhaps as bad, to know when to stop once you get there. For example, how many publications does it take for an academic unit to declare success in achieving scholarly competence, and how many are too many, causing a consequent drain of resources away from other goals, such as good teaching? If ambiguity in the vicinity of the goal makes it difficult to detect lack of progress, it also makes it difficult to detect success and the need to stop pursuit of the goal that has been achieved.


REFERENCES

Beach L. R. ( 1990). Image theory: Decision making in personal and organizational contexts. Chichester, UK: Wiley.

Beach L. R. ( 1992). Epistemic strategies: Casual thinking in expert and nonexpert judgment. In. G. Wright & F. Bolger (Eds.), Expertise and decision support (pp. 107-127). New York: Plenum.

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Decision Making in the Workplace: A Unified Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1: Image Theory, the Unifying Perspective 1
  • References 19
  • 2: Why a New Perspective on Decision Making is Needed 21
  • References 30
  • 3: Job Search and Job Selection 33
  • Conclusions 46
  • References 46
  • 4: Career Decisions 49
  • Conclusions 61
  • References 62
  • 5: Supervision and Job Satisfaction 63
  • References 71
  • 6: Why Employees Quit 73
  • Conclusion 89
  • References 89
  • 7: Audit Decisions 91
  • Summary 99
  • References 99
  • 8: Screening of Clients by Audit Firms 101
  • Conclusions 115
  • References 116
  • 9: Organizational Culture and Decision Making 117
  • Summary and Practical Implications 129
  • References 131
  • 10: Mitigating Cultural Constraints on Group Decisions 133
  • Conclusion 141
  • References 142
  • 11: Imagination and Planning 143
  • References 153
  • 12: Designing Marketing Plans and Communication Strategies 155
  • Summary and Conclusions 164
  • References 164
  • 13: Consumer Decisions Involving Social Responsibility 165
  • Conclusion 177
  • References 179
  • 14: Image Compatibility and Framing 181
  • References 193
  • 15: Image Theory and Workplace Decisions: Challenges 197
  • References 208
  • Author Index 209
  • Subject Index 215
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