This collection of essays reflects two important truths about decision making. First, many of any decision maker's most important decisions are made in the context of his or her work. Second, it is difficult to appreciate the commonalties in these decisions without a unifying perspective with which to examine them. Therefore, all of the chapters in this book examine workplace decisions using the same perspective, a descriptive theory of decision making called image theory.
The plan is quite straightforward. To avoid repeating it in every chapter, chapter 1 contains a description of image theory. Because this perspective and its vocabulary is assumed in everything that follows, the reader is advised to become familiar with it before going on to the chapters that use it to examine workplace decisions.
Readers familiar with the expected value perspective on decision making may find chapter 1 a bit startling--because it describes a very different way of thinking about decisions. Chapter 2 explains why the status of expected value has decreased so markedly in applied decision research, and why alternative views such as image theory are replacing it.
The analysis of workplace decision making begins with chapter 3, which examines decisions about job search and job choice. Then, because at the beginning of one's worklife anyway, jobs often dictate career decisions rather than the other way around, chapter 4 builds on chapter 3 to examine career choice.
It is one thing to decide to take a particular job; it is another thing to decide to stay in that job. Chapter 5 examines how the discrepancy between what one expects from one's supervisor and what one actually gets from that supervisor influences satisfaction with one's job, satisfaction with the organization, and intentions to leave the organization. Chapter 6 carries the theme further to examine a wide range of conditions that lead employees to quit their jobs and begin searching for new ones.
The next two chapters examine a specific kind of workplace decision as an illustration of the kind of analysis and research afforded by the image theory perspective. Chapter 7 looks at the way an agent of an auditing firm goes about deciding whether the firm should accept business from a particular client, and then about whether there is material error in that client's financial statements. Chapter 8 presents empirical evidence supporting part of the analysis in chapter 7, that is, how an audit firm makes a decision about whether to accept a potential client's business.