Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues

By N. John Castellan Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
7
PARADOXES IN INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP DECISION MAKING: A PLEA FOR MODELS

N. John Castellan Jr. Indiana University

The four chapters in this section approach individual and group decision making in very different ways and illustrate the richness of the research paradigms that have been developed. In this chapter I will comment on some salient points from the papers and raise others. I have not attempted to synthesize or summarize the papers.

In chapter 5, Sniezek and Buckley discuss decision tasks in a way that suggests a possible typology that can serve as a useful springboard for discussion. It was elaborated in their symposium presentation when they suggested using a two-way classification to characterize the decision environment as either deterministic or probabilistic, and characterize the decision maker as either certain or uncertain. One could then enter into each cell of Table 7.1 appropriate task and behavioral characteristics or phenomena. They also argue that most experiments and tasks could be categorized into one of the four cells. However, after reading their chapter and the other three, I believe that one could argue that the typology is for the experimenter, not the decision maker. The decision maker can never be certain that the environment is not probabilistic, and neither can the decision maker be certain that the environment is not deterministic. We might think of the decision maker as a scientist who tries to do his or her own experiment, but events occur in an uncontrolled manner, so the decision maker cannot perform a critical experiment. But even if that were possible, the decision maker can only make an induction, which is subject to correction by future events. When involved

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