International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview
pean Parliament is consulted and can make recommendations, but neither has a real influence on the decisionmaking of the Council. In some policy areas in the third pillar, the Commission is allowed to submit proposals. In the Common Foreign and Security Policy, a special role is played by the European Council, which defines the principles of and general guidelines for this policy. The Council takes the decisions necessary for defining and implementing the Common Foreign and Security Policy on the basis of the general guidelines adopted by the European Council.In both pillars, the Council in general acts unanimously, except for procedural questions and in a very limited number of cases provided for in the Treaty. In both pillars, when adopting a joint action, the Council can define by unanimity those matters on which decisions are to be taken by a qualified majority (with this qualified majority having as supplementary requirement that at least eight member states vote in favor). This implies that decisions by majority votes are possible, but that any member state can block this possibility of departing from the unanimity rule, which relativizes the possibility of use of majority votes. Majority voting is also possible in the field of justice and home affairs for measures implementing conventions. In this case, these measures have to be adopted in the Council by a majority of two-thirds. STEPHAN KEUKELEIRE
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bulmer, Simon and Wolfgang Wessels, 1987. The European Council. Decisionmaking in European Politics. London: Macmillan.

Engel, Christian and Wolfgang Wessels, eds., 1992. From Luxembourg to Maastricht: Institutional Change in the European Community after the Single European Act. Bonn: European Union Verlag.

Jacobs, Francis, Richard Corbett and Michael Shackleton, 1992. The European Parliament. Essex: Longman.

Keohane, Robert O. and Stanley Hoffmann, eds., 1991. The New European Community: Decisionmaking and Institutional Change. Oxford: Westview.

Kirchner, Emil J., 1992. Decisionmaking in the European Community: The Council Presidency and European Integration. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Nugent, Neill, 1994. The Government and Politics of the European Union. London: Macmillan.

Sbagria, Alberta M., ed., 1992. Euro-Politics: Institutions and Policymaking in the European Community. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

Weslake, Martin, 1994. The Commission and the Parliament: Partners and Rivals in the European Policymaking Process. London: Butterworths.

DECISION THEORY. The science of problem solving and the methods used by managers to make successful choices under conditions of uncertainty and risk. It provides both a description of human behavior in problem solving and the science of methods to optimize decisions.Decision theory developed in the twentieth century as an outgrowth of scientific management and the work of Frederick Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (see scientific management). Its roots are found in business, economics, and mathematics. The evolution of decision theory expanded geometrically after World War II with the development of cybernetics and the science of operations research.Public administration has traditionally incorporated the function of decisionmaking as scholars have searched for the best ways to manage public organizations. Early scholars such as Woodrow Wilson ( 1887) and Leonard White ( 1926) urged the development of a science of administration to make government management more businesslike. Luther Gulick ( 1937) included decisionmaking in the D (directing) of his mnemonic POSDCORB.The incorporation of decision theory into public administration began with Herbert Simon 1946 article in Public Administration Review, "The Proverbs of Administration". Simon argued that the essence of management activity is decisionmaking and that organizations should seek ways to improve managers' decisionmaking capabilities rather than trying to find the ideal organizational structure. Simon later published a number of influential books outlining an administrative theory for decisionmaking.Decision theory gained prominence in the 1960s with the development of management science, operations research, computer modeling, and systems analysis. Because decision theory can be used to design mathematical representations of reality, it is essential for the development of computer models that attempt to replicate conditions in the real world.Decision theory is used by managers and policy analysts to structure problems and identify options for solutions. Game theory, a branch of decision theory, is used by the military and the U.S. State Department to structure decisions with international players. Another application of decision theory, risk assessment, is increasingly used by regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to set priorities for the implementation of regulatory strategies.
Underlying Theoretical Framework
Decision theory begins with the rational choice model of decisionmaking. Drawn from microeconomics theory of human behavior, the model outlines the scientific steps of a decision:
1. Define the problem to be solved. Limit it to its essential parts and describe the relationships of these parts to each other.

-639-

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board *
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