A Psychology of Decisions

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When it comes to making good decisions, the fact is that facts are often just one small piece of the puzzle.

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A Psychology of Decisions

  1. 1. A Psychology of Decisions © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra
  2. 2. What is a Decision? In this discussion, a Decision is a conclusive assertion, of a state that requires appropriate subsequent activity. Without the aspect of required subsequent propriety, there is no practical meaning to the idea of a Decision. A decision is made at a point where the future propriety is an option or alternative. Because of that, a decision always addresses what is “current” versus what “can be”. This means that a decision always contrasts at least two potential states: change, or don’t change. Additionally, there may be multiple future options or alternatives involved. The following illustrations and notes are based on the combination of my personal experience in teaching, coaching, art and management. There is no prior work by other parties necessary to reference as a precedent, regardless of any similarities that may surface. There is no reliance on technical or specialist terminologies. Similarities to other work should be noted as a type of evidence that the illustrated general relations and elements are re-discoverable by any party willing to do the same type and extent of analyses and syntheses of their own corresponding experience. Nonetheless, this published discussion and all of its content as published is fully copyrighted.
  3. 3. The Mental Landscape of Decisions The following discussion proposes that there are four basic classes of decisions: • Directives • Proofs • Positions • Agreements Each class of decision can be pursued without regard to the other three. However, several different classes of decisions may occur simultaneously; multiple concurrent decisions may or may not be mutually aligned. Each respective class has a characteristic target that is addressed. The target is acknowledged as an unambiguous and authoritative point of reference. The target guides the acknowledgement of when the considerations of options or alternatives can be concluded. Said differently, these targets are types of conclusions expressed by decisions. • A Need (Directive) • A Finding (Proof) • An Identification (Position) • A Consensus (Agreement)
  4. 4. The Mental Landscape of Decisions (cont’d.) Each respective class of decision has two distinguishing factors that support the target of the class. • Benefit and Risk: a Need (Directive) • Fact and Belief: a Finding (Proof) • Values and Validation: an Identification (Position) • Opinions and Preference: a Consensus (Agreement) Factors are variables that influence the strength and specificity of the target (conclusion) in the decision. Factors are independent; therefore, from one case to the next they may or may not conflict with each other, and they may or may not have equal impact within the class of decision. Each respective class of decision can affect at least one other class through a relationship of their respective factors. In this affect, the general relationship is that if a factor in one class changes, it influences a possible change in a factor of a different class. Certain factors across certain classes are observed to be regularly more sensitive to each other. To illustrate that correspondence across classes, this discussion’s map uses simplification and symmetry aimed at highlighting the more probable relations occurring from the characteristic differences between classes.
  5. 5. Four Basic Types of Decisions Agreement Opinions A Consensus Preference Facts Benefits Proof Directive A Finding A Need Beliefs Values Position Validation Risks An Identification © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  6. 6. Decision-makers come to work on decision-making from a variety of interests. An interest represents a mentality that characterizes what kind of “stake” is held in the decision, and therefore it characterizes different kinds of stakeholders. There are four primary types of interest: • Goal • Confidence • Trust • Choice Stakeholders… The immediate affect of interests on decisions is that the interest drives the selection of what kind (class) of decision should be used. Interests are independent; therefore, from one case to the next they may or may not conflict with each other, and they may or may not have equal impact within the class of decision. Interests also relate to each other through their characteristic involvement as factors in a type of rationale of the decision. Said differently, a rationale is a reason why the stakeholders find value in the decision. There are four basic types of rationale; each type characteristically include two of the interests and because of that there is an affinity of interests associated with the rationale of the decision. • Sensible: Choice and Goal • Compelling: Goal and Confidence • Compliant: Confidence and Trust • Persuasive: Trust and Choice “One size does not fit all.”
  7. 7. A rationale is a reason why the stakeholders find value in the decision. There is an affinity of interests associated with the rationale of the decision. • Sensible: Choice and Goal • Compelling: Goal and Confidence • Compliant: Confidence and Trust • Persuasive: Trust and Choice Each rationale corresponds to a predisposition that is addressed by the decision-making. There are four basic predispositions; • Perspective • Advantage • Certainty • Acceptance Getting to “yes”… ? During decision-making, a predisposition finds more or less support, and its presence may therefore have an encouraging or inhibiting affect on conclusiveness. Predispositions strongly associate the same interests that are associated with rationales, so they reflect the counterpoint to the rationales that stakeholders respect. Often, decisions represent either mitigating or leveraging the predisposition. • Perspective: Choice and Goal (Sensible) • Advantage: Goal and Confidence (Compelling) • Certainty: Confidence and Trust (Compliant) • Acceptance: Trust and Choice (Persuasive)
  8. 8. GOAL Sensible is from this POV Perspective Advantage Predispositions, interests, and rationales interests rationales surround the activity that works on the classes and factors of decisions. On the map, rationales are virtually points of view; and, we see that predispositions associate interests, which creates affinities of stakeholders. CHOICE Persuasive is from this POV Compelling is from this POV Acceptance © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research CONFIDENCE Certainty TRUST Compliant is from this POV
  9. 9. GOAL Sensible is from this POV Perspective Agreement Compelling is from this POV Advantage A Consensus CHOICE Proof Directive A Finding CONFIDENCE A Need Position An Identification Persuasive is from this POV Acceptance © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research Certainty TRUST Compliant is from this POV
  10. 10. GOAL Sensible is from this POV Perspective Compelling is from this POV Advantage Agreement Opinions A Consensus Preference Facts CHOICE Benefits Proof Directive A Finding CONFIDENCE A Need Beliefs Values Position Validation Risks An Identification Persuasive is from this POV Acceptance © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research Certainty TRUST Compliant is from this POV
  11. 11. The Decision Map On the map, different kinds of decisions are appropriate to different predispositions. A stakeholder may need to see multiple kinds of decisions made in order to adequately cover factors related to the stakeholder’s interests. On the map, we can see a logical affinity between interests and decision factors. For example, facts and opinions combine in the support of perspective, which argues a “sensible” rationale; while preference and benefits combine in the support of advantage, arguing a “compelling” rationale. Typically, the rationale(s) for a decision are used as justification for supporting the decision’s role as an authorization for appropriate subsequent activity. © 2013 Malcolm Ryder / archestra research
  12. 12. The Psychology of Decisions, Seen A decision-maker may or may not be consciously addressing of all the factors that are weighing on the kind and conclusiveness of decisions. This can be the case both when one party amongst several doesn’t have “full” visibility because of roles restrictions, and when one solo party must fill multiple roles but has not identified the related issues characteristic of each role and therefore is not aware of them. The psychology of the decision-making involves mentalities (such as predispositions, interests, and targets) that are present in variable strengths and that can change independently or in tandem during the course of decision-making. As proposed by the Decision Map in this discussion, a supervisory view of the progress towards conclusiveness can be consistently applied, both to identify current relative emphasis in key areas and to strategize significant coverage of variables in the decision-making. In the map, things are related by proximity and links; relations represent influence, and influence must be assessed and addressed accordingly. Using the map to choose items of attention, it is possible to derive decision-making models for different circumstances and occasions. Such models can remain ad hoc or become standardized.

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