Judgement and Decision Making Text Abstracts

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Reading 1.3 Jackall, R. (1988) Chapter 4, ‘Looking Up and Looking Around’, in Moral Mazes, Oxford University Press, NY. Abstract In the early sections of “Looking Up and Looking Around” Jackall seeks to explain the reasons behind inadequate decision making processes and ability. The circumstances and environments that cultivate ‘decision-making paralysis’ and a lack of individual decision making ability are explained. Numerous examples and reasons are outlined to communicate a manager’s fear of failure, reluctance to make decisions and inability to make effective decisions when required at all hierarchical levels. If a decision must be made, particularly for an unexpected situation or problem, there is a tendency to look up, at…show more content…
Example Our section owns nine safety boats that are used by numerous units around Australia. We needed to downsize the fleet to five craft to save on sustainment costs and other expenses. We required a decision from higher headquarters in order to decide on how the craft would be distributed among the user units. The decision from higher headquarters was delayed a number of times as the member responsible for the decision did not want to offend the unit commanders by taking craft off them, while other units got to keep theirs. Eventually, the decision on allocation was passed to the member’s commander, who was well above the level required a decision of this nature. By simply looking at the merits of who needed the craft the most and allocating based on that reasoning the decision could have occurred a lot quicker and at an appropriate level. This decision-making paralysis at a higher level significantly affected our ability to conduct our work. Reading 4.2 Reason, J. (1990) ‘A general view of accident causation in complex systems’, in Human Error, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Abstract Reason’s “A general view of accident causation in complex systems” illustrates
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