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Decision making. No, it will not get simpler.


Decision making.  No, it will not get simpler.

Third time’s a charm! Ready to flex those managerial synapses? Today’s task is a real world-class brain-twister… get ready to take the heat!

Let’s get cracking…

…by reading back over the content on decision making in Chapter 3 of the textbook.  Once you’re done, you should be fully equipped to deal with a simple problem called “world climate change”.  Easy! Right?

Summarising very briefly:

Before you start reading this, quickly record your views on climate change: is it happening? Is it bad? Who and what is causing it? Keep these records for the end of the reading piece.

For decades now, scientists have been warning us that the industrialisation and automation of the world has caused our climate to change and the temperatures to rise.  About a decade ago, this warning was met with a strong opposition, arguing that the climate change, if occurring, is not due to man-made actions.

It’s not easy make up one’s mind about the whole issue of climate change.  Evidence, even if they are clear to scientists, are not always clear to the lay person.  Have a look at the temperature charts.  Does it seem like global warming is here?  Now look at the chart that describes the various components that contribute to climate change.  What is the main contributor to climate change?

Despite the strong consensus in the scientific community about the trend of the global climate change, and its causes (human greenhouse gas emissions), the Australian government has not been able to make a solid decision on how to address it.  While on the one hand, scientific reports highlight the problems that Australia will face due to the upcoming climate change, some experts claim that the problems have been downplayed, and only partial data is presented in the report.  The government introduced the carbon tax in 2011 in attempt to control carbon emissions.  This bill was strongly criticised as being ineffective in terms of its financial and pollution outcomes.  A recent attempt to repeal the tax has failed, despite a suggestion for an alternative plan.  This is obviously not a simple problem to address.

Now, clear your mind, take a few deep breaths, and think: If you had to answer the questions presented at the beginning all over again – is climate change happening? Is it bad? Who and what is causing it? What would your intuitive answer be now?


Consider the following questions for discussion….

  1. This will be easy to answer, but you will be surprised how often this issue is overlooked in managerial discussion: is the climate change question a structured or unstructured problem?
  2. Why would bounded rationality play a part in how people normally consider the climate change issue?
  3. Most climate change issues are discussed in group forum – at least among policy makers.  What kind of problems, biases, and benefits does this group setting bring to this problem?
  4. It may be tempting to follow the rational decision-making approach, but keep in mind realistic conditions that are similar to those in managerial workplaces: time pressure, task overload and multiple stakeholders.  How would you recommend addressing this problem?