Home Home | About Us | Sitemap | Contact  
  • Info For
  • Professionals
  • Students
  • Educators
  • Media
  • Search
    Powered By Google
Next Last Index Home

Slide 2 of 10

Before showing this slide, ask your students to generate examples of decisions they have had to make at work, or decisions workers have made that have been reported in the media.  These are a few examples of workplace decision making that have been studied by researchers

Pilot flight diversion decisions- When weather conditions change or accidents occur, private pilots may have to divert a flight to an alternative airport.  In order to do this successfully, pilots have to collect information about the distance to each airport option, the length and direction of the available runways in combination with windspeed and wind direction, and the resources available at each airport.   This information needs to be combined in a way that leads to the most appropriate action.  Research suggests that experts and novices collect information using different strategies.   

Surgical Team-  Teams are typically composed of people with unique expertise who need to depend on one another to get the job done (e.g., anesthesiologist, technicians who monitor life support machines, head surgeon, assistant surgeon).  This means that decisions are complicated by having to develop a common understanding of each problem, resolve differences in opinion or values, share information effectively, and maximize the use of each persons skills.  Here you could ask your students to think of experiences they have had working in teams that illustrate good or poor coordination. 

9-1-1 Emergency Dispatcher effort- When performing their jobs, dispatchers need to know where to place their effort.  It is clear that working quickly or maximize accuracy are both relatively more important than telephone courtesy.  However, can speed and accuracy tradeoff with one another (in other words, can I focus on one aspect to the exclusion of the other?)?  Research suggests that good performance relies on a fine balance between important attributes.  In this case, speed and accuracy tend to depend on one another.  In other words, if you send a fire truck to the wrong location, it doesnt matter how quickly you get them there, but if you send a fire truck to the proper location, the faster you get them there the better. 

Rating employee performance on the job- Often managers must evaluate and make decisions about their subordinates.  Ask your students to provide examples of these kinds of decisions (bonus, promotions, etc.)  Because managers have so many responsibilities they often construct their evaluations based on incomplete information or use mental shortcuts (heuristics).  Multiple rater peers, self, subordinate 

Using interviews to choose job applicants-  Many professionals have the task of finding new employees.  You could ask for a show of hands how many students have been through a job interview.  Most companies use job interviews as a source for information.  However, not all interviews are effective for collecting RELEVANT information.  Many interviews are unstructured and leave the interviewer with very little information to go ona situation likely to induce the use of stereotypes and other mental shortcuts.