Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A somewhat unified view of decision making: introduction

I've written several times about the various methodologies we make decisions: the rational model, as typified by the Kepner-Tregoe approach, Gary Klein's recognition-primed decision model, the Thomas Saaty Analytic Hierarchy Process, and others. Sometimes we get the impression from reading that there's one best approach, but it's often the case that diverse approaches (to most anything) are more robust.

Does that mean we just pick and choose the approach we like when we want?

While there will always be an element of personal choice in deciding which methods to use, I do think we can say more about the varied approaches that helps put them in context. The recognition-primed decision model seems to apply when we have to make a decision in a hurry—not surprising, since firefighters and other emergency response teams were the subjects Gary Klein studied. The rational model seems to apply when our intuitions lead us astray. As Jay Forrester has pointed out, that may happen more often than we'd like to admit (and his approach goes past the rational of Kepner-Tregoe to a more systemic view).

Over the next few days, I intend to walk through my developing views on how one might integrate these ideas, and I hope some of you will chime in with your own insights to help us all learn still more.

While you're waiting for this to start, review some of the ideas that led to this series.

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