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Decisions

The Complexities of Individual and Organizational Decision-Making

Karin Brunsson and Nils Brunsson

Decisions and the complexity of decision-making are central topics in several social science disciplines, including those of social psychology, political science and the study of organizations. This book draws on insights from all of these disciplines and provides a concise overview of some of the most intriguing and salient observations and arguments in the research about decision-making. The book first deals with basic decision making logics and applies them to both individual and organizational decision making. The book then deals with consequences of decisions and the complications of making decisions in a political context, where many individuals and organizations are involved.
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Chapter 4: The consequences of decisions

The Complexities of Individual and Organizational Decision-Making

Karin Brunsson and Nils Brunsson

Extract

There is a complicated relationship between decisions and actions. Depending on the way a decision is made it makes subsequent action more or less likely. A common attempt to block action is to infuse decision processes with more rationality. Decisions are used for controlling organizational actions, but the power of the decision makers may be considerably reduced, not only by problems of implementation, but also by problems of determining the content of their decisions. Furthermore, decisions have other consequences than action. They create and distribute responsibility and may produce attention and legitimacy, regardless of whether they are implemented or not. In situations of conflicting ideas, norms and demands, decisions can compensate for action: It may be necessary to decide in one way in order to be able to act in the opposite way. Decisions then decrease the likelihood for the corresponding action, rather than the other way round.

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