25 December 2016

Strategic Management: Decision-Making (Just the Quotes)

"The quality of a decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim." (Sun Tzu, "The Art of War", cca. 5th century BC) 

"To give a satisfactory decision as to the truth it is necessary to be rather an arbitrator than a party to the dispute." (Aristotle, "De Caelo", cca. 5th century BC)

"Men must be decided on what they will NOT do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do." (Mencius, cca. 3rd century BC)

"To be guided in one's decisions by the present, and to prefer what is sure to what is uncertain (though more attractive), is an expedient, a narrow rule of policy. Not thus do states nor even individual men make their way to greatness." (Marquis de Vauvenargues, "Reflections and Maxims", cca. 1746)

"As mathematical and absolute certainty is seldom to be attained in human affairs, reason and public utility require that judges and all mankind in forming their opinions of the truth of facts should be regulated by the superior number of the probabilities on the one side or the other whether the amount of these probabilities be expressed in words and arguments or by figures and numbers." (William Murray, 1773) 

"Deliberate with caution, but act with decision and promptness." (Charles C Colton, "Lacon", 1820)

"It [probability] is the very guide of life, and hardly can we take a step or make a decision of any kind without correctly or incorrectly making an estimation of probabilities." (William S Jevons, "The Principles of Science: A Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method", 1874)

"General propositions do not decide concrete cases. The decision will depend on a judgment or intuition more subtle than any articulate major premise." (Oliver W Holmes, [Lochner v. New York, 198 US 76] 1905)

Decide: "To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set." (Ambrose Bierce, "The Cynic's Dictionary", 1906) 

"Certainly thinking is pleasant, but the pleasure of thinking must be subordinated to the art of making decisions." (Émile A Chartier [Alain], "On Happiness", 1928)

"Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help [in decision making]." (Georg W Hegel, "Lectures on the Philosophy of History", 1837)

"The great decisions of human life have as a rule far more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness. The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Each of us carries his own life-form - an indeterminable form which cannot be superseded by any other." (Carl G Jung, "The Aims of Psychotherapy", 1931)

"Human decisions affecting the future [...] cannot depend on strict mathematical expectation." (John M Keynes, "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money", 1936)

"An adjustive effort of any kind is preceded by a decision to act or not act along a given line, and the decision is itself preceded by a definition of the situation, that is to say, an interpretation, or point of view, and eventually a policy and a behavior pattern. In this way quick judgments and decisions are made at every point in everyday life. Thus when approached by a man or beast in a lonely spot we first define the situation, make a judgment, as to whether the object is dangerous or harmless, and then decide ("make up our mind") what we are going to do about it." (William I Thomas, "Primitive Behavior", 1937)

"The fundamental gospel of statistics is to push back the domain of ignorance, prejudice, rule-of-thumb, arbitrary or premature decisions, tradition, and dogmatism and to increase the domain in which decisions are made and principles are formulated on the basis of analyzed quantitative facts." (Robert W Burgess, "The Whole Duty of the Statistical Forecaster", Journal of the American Statistical Association , Vol. 32, No. 200, 1937)

"A person can and will accept a communication as authoritative only when four conditions simultaneously obtain: (a) he can and does understand the communication; (b) at the time of his decision he believes that it is not inconsistent with the purpose of the organization; (c) at the time of his decision, he believes it to be compatible with his personal interest as a whole; and (d) he is able mentally and physically to comply with it." (Chester I Barnard, "The Functions of the Executive", 1938)

"Much of the waste in business is due to lack of information. And when the information is available, waste often occurs because of lack of application or because of misapplication." (John R Riggleman & Ira N Frisbee, "Business Statistics", 1938)

"The fine art of executive decision consists in not deciding questions that are not now pertinent, in not deciding prematurely, in not making decision that cannot be made effective, and in not making decisions that others should make. Not to decide questions that are not pertinent at the time is uncommon good sense, though to raise them may be uncommon perspicacity. Not to decide questions prematurely is to refuse commitment of attitude or the development of prejudice. Not to make decisions that cannot be made effective is to refrain from destroying authority. Not to make decisions that others should make is to preserve morale, to develop competence, to fix responsibility, and to preserve authority.
From this it may be seen that decisions fall into two major classes, positive decisions - to do something, to direct action, to cease action, to prevent action; and negative decisions, which are decisions not to decide. Both are inescapable; but the negative decisions are often largely unconscious, relatively nonlogical, "instinctive," "good sense." It is because of the rejections that the selection is good." (Chester I Barnard, "The Functions of the Executive", 1938)

"The making of decisions, as everyone knows from personal experience, is a burdensome task. Offsetting the exhilaration that may result from correct and successful decision and the relief that follows the termination of a struggle to determine issues is the depression that comes from failure, or error of decision, and the frustration which ensues from uncertainty." (Chester I Barnard, "The Functions of the Executive", 1938)

"The function of knowledge in the decision-making process is to determine which consequences follow upon which of the alternative strategies. It is the task of knowledge to select from the whole class of possible consequences a more limited subclass, or even (ideally) a single set of consequences correlated with each strategy." (Herbert A Simon, "Administrative Behavior", 1947)

"The executive is primarily concerned with decisions which facilitate or hinder other decisions." (Chester I Barnard, "Organization and Management: Selected Papers", 1948)

"The function of knowledge in the decision-making process is to determine which consequences follow upon which of the alternative strategies." (Herbert A Simon, "Public Administration", 1950)

"Scientists whose work has no clear, practical implications would want to make their decisions considering such things as: the relative worth of (1) more observations, (2) greater scope of his conceptual model, (3) simplicity, (4) precision of language, (5) accuracy of the probability assignment." (C West Churchman, "Costs, Utilities, and Values", 1956)

"A decision is the action an executive must take when he has information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself." (Arthur W Radford, [Time] 1957)

"Many individuals and organization units contribute to every large decision, and the very problem of centralization and decentralization is a problem of arranging the complex system into an effective scheme." (Herbert A. Simon, "Administrative Behavior", 1957) 

"Years ago a statistician might have claimed that statistics deals with the processing of data [...] today’s statistician will be more likely to say that statistics is concerned with decision making in the face of uncertainty." (Herman Chernoff & Lincoln E Moses, "Elementary Decision Theory", 1959)

"As the decision-making function becomes more highly automated, corporate decision making will perhaps provide fewer outlets for creative drives than it now does." (Herbert A Simon," Management and Corporations 1985", 1960)

"The decision which achieves organization objectives must be both (1) technologically sound and (2) carried out by people. If we lose sight of the second requirement or if we assume naively that people can be made to carry out whatever decisions are technically sound we run the risk of decreasing rather than increasing the effectiveness of the organization." (Douglas McGregor, "The Human Side of Enterprise", 1960)

"The mathematical and computing techniques for making programmed decisions replace man but they do not generally simulate him." (Herbert A Simon, "Corporations 1985", 1960)

"Another approach to management theory, undertaken by a growing and scholarly group, might be referred to as the decision theory school. This group concentrates on rational approach to decision-the selection from among possible alternatives of a course of action or of an idea. The approach of this school may be to deal with the decision itself, or to the persons or organizational group making the decision, or to an analysis of the decision process. Some limit themselves fairly much to the economic rationale of the decision, while others regard anything which happens in an enterprise the subject of their analysis, and still others expand decision theory to cover the psychological and sociological aspect and environment of decisions and decision-makers." (Harold Koontz, "The Management Theory Jungle," 1961)

"[There is a] persistent human temptation to make life more explicable by making it more calculable; to put experience in some logical scheme that, by its order and niceness, will make what happens seem more understandable, analysis more bearable, decision simpler." (E E Morison, Management and the Computer of the Future, 1962)

"A leader is a man who makes decisions. Sometimes they turn out right and sometimes they turn out wrong; but either way, he makes them." (Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co, "Leadership in the Office", 1963)

"Don't make decisions and commitments ahead of time that you don't have to make." (Milton J Roedel, Managers' Meeting, 1963)

"The mediation of theory and praxis can only be clarified if to begin with we distinguish three functions, which are measured in terms of different criteria: the formation and extension of critical theorems, which can stand up to scientific discourse; the organization of processes of enlightenment, in which such theorems are applied and can be tested in a unique manner by the initiation of processes of reflection carried on within certain groups toward which these processes have been directed; and the selection of appropriate strategies, the solution of tactical questions, and the conduct of the political struggle. On the first level, the aim is true statements, on the second, authentic insights, and on the third, prudent decisions." (Jürgen Habermas, "Introduction to Theory and Practice", 1963)

"Decisions should be based on facts, objectively considered - what I call the fact-founded, thought-through approach to decision making." (Marvin Bower, "The Will to Manage", 1966)

"In large-scale organizations, the factual approach must be constantly nurtured by high-level executives. The more layers of authority through which facts must pass before they reach the decision maker, the greater the danger that they will be suppressed, modified, or softened, so as not to displease the 'brass"' For this reason, high-level executives must keep reaching for facts or soon they won't know what is going on. Unless they make visible efforts to seek and act on facts, major problems will not be brought to their attention, the quality of their decisions will decline, and the business will gradually get out of touch with its environment." (Marvin Bower, "The Will to Manage", 1966)

"Interaction and decision making relies heavily on group processes." (Rensis Likert, "The Human Organization", 1967)

"Somewhere deep down we know that in the final analysis we do decide things and that even our decisions to let someone else decide are really our decisions, however pusillanimous." (Harvey G Cox, "On Not Leaving It to the Snake", 1967)

"There is a difference between attacking a decision and attacking the man who made the decision." (Maurice S Trotter, "Supervisor's Handbook on Insubordination", 1967)

"Analysis is not a scientific procedure for reaching decisions which avoid intuitive elements, but rather a mechanism for sharpening the intuition of the decision maker." (James R Schlesinger, "Memorandum to Senate Committee on Government Operations", 1968)

"Now we are looking for another basic outlook on the world - the world as organization. Such a conception - if it can be substantiated - would indeed change the basic categories upon which scientific thought rests, and profoundly influence practical attitudes. This trend is marked by the emergence of a bundle of new disciplines such as cybernetics, information theory, general system theory, theories of games, of decisions, of queuing and others; in practical applications, systems analysis, systems engineering, operations research, etc. They are different in basic assumptions, mathematical techniques and aims, and they are often unsatisfactory and sometimes contradictory. They agree, however, in being concerned, in one way or another, with ‘systems’, ‘wholes’ or ‘organizations’; and in their totality, they herald a new approach." (Ludwig von Bertalanffy, "General System Theory", 1968)

"Policy-making, decision-taking, and control: These are the three functions of management that have intellectual content." (Anthony S Beer, "Management Science" , 1968)

"Like all systems, the complex system is an interlocking structure of feedback loops [...] This loop structure surrounds all decisions public or private, conscious or unconscious. The processes of man and nature, of psychology and physics, of medicine and engineering all fall within this structure [...]" (Jay W Forrester, "Urban Dynamics", 1969)

"Each of us uses models constantly. Every person in his private life and in his business life instinctively uses models for decision making. The mental image of the world around you which you carry in your head is a model. […] A mental image is a model. All our decisions are taken on the basis of models." (Jay W Forrester, "Counter-Intuitive Behaviour of Social Systems", Technological Review 73, 1971)

"Decisions must be made at the lowest possible level for management at the top to retain its effectiveness." (Saxon Tate, "The Time Trap", 1972)

"The advantages of having decisions made by groups are often lost because of powerful psychological pressures that arise when the members work closely together, share the same set of values and, above all, face a crisis situation that puts everyone under intense stress." (Irving Janis, "Victims of Groupthink", 1972) 

"The human condition can almost be summed up in the observation that, whereas all experiences are of the past, all decisions are about the future. It is the great task of human knowledge to bridge this gap and to find those patterns in the past which can be projected into the future as realistic images." (Kenneth E Boulding, [foreword] 1972)

"The most powerful factor in the decision making in an organization is precedent. The older the larger the organization, the more powerful the precedent." (Lyle E Schaller, "The Change Agent", 1972)

"Executives do many things in addition to making decisions. But only executives make decisions. The first managerial skill is, therefore, the making of effective decisions." (Peter F Drucker, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", 1973)

"Managers, therefore, need to be skilled in making decisions with long futurity on a systematic basis. Management has no choice but to anticipate the future, to attempt to mold it, and to balance short-range and long-range goals.[…] “Short range” and “long range” are not determined by any given time span. A decision is not short range because it takes only a few months to carry it out. What matters is the time span over which it is effective. […] The skill we need is not long-range planning. It is strategic decision-making, or perhaps strategic planning." (Peter F Drucker, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", 1973)

"One has to make a decision when a condition is likely to degenerate if nothing is done."(Peter F Drucker, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", 1973)

"Statistics is a body of methods and theory applied to numerical evidence in making decisions in the face of uncertainty." (Lawrence Lapin, "Statistics for Modern Business Decisions", 1973)

"The manager does not handle decisions one at a time; he juggles a host of them, dealing with each intermittently, all the while attempting to develop some integration among them." (Henry Mintzberg, "The Nature of Managerial Work", 1973)

"The manager faces the real danger of becoming a major obstruction in the flow of decisions and information." (Henry Mintzberg, "The Nature of Managerial Work, 1973)

"Information may be accumulated in files, but it must be retrieved to be of use in decision making." (Kenneth J. Arrow, "The Limits of Organization", 1974)

"The purpose of organizations is to exploit the fact that many (virtually all) decisions require the participation of many individuals for their effectiveness. In particular, [...] organizations are a means of achieving the benefits of collective action in situations in which the price system fails." (Kenneth J Arrow, "The Limits of Organization", 1974)

"The most dominant decision type [that will have to be made in an organic organization] will be decisions under uncertainty." (Henry L Tosi, "Management", 1976)

"Perhaps the fault [for the poor implementation record for models] lies in the origins of managerial model-making - the translation of methods and principles of the physical sciences into wartime operations research. [...] If hypothesis, data, and analysis lead to proof and new knowledge in science, shouldn’t similar processes lead to change in organizations? The answer is obvious-NO! Organizational changes (or decisions or policies) do not instantly pow from evidence, deductive logic, and mathematical optimization." (Edward B Roberts, "Interface", 1977)

"The essence of the phenomenon of gambling is decision making. The act of making a decision consists of selecting one course of action, or strategy, from among the set of admissible strategies. Richard A Epstein, The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic, 1977)

"The greater the uncertainty, the greater the amount of decision making and information processing. It is hypothesized that organizations have limited capacities to process information and adopt different organizing modes to deal with task uncertainty. Therefore, variations in organizing modes are actually variations in the capacity of organizations to process information and make decisions about events which cannot be anticipated in advance." (John K Galbraith, "Organization Design", 1977)

"It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be... This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking." (Isaac Asimov, "My Own View", Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1978)

"Our theory of management is that the time to get a decision doubles for every two levels of management; thus, parallel instead of serial decisions are best solutions." (Eberhardt Rechtin, [Speech] 1978)

"In general individual decision makers must be assumed to have multidimensional values which attach nonmonetary subjective cost or value to (1) the process of making and executing individual or group decisions, (2) the end result of such decisions, and (3) the rewards (and perhaps behavior) of other individuals involved in the decision process." (Vernon L Smith, "Relevance of laboratory experiments to testing resource allocation theory", 1980)

"Managers often try to give others the feeling that they are participating in the decision process. When a manager involves people in a problem for which he has adequate information and clear criteria for making an acceptable decision, he is engaging in pseudoconsultation. When he involves others in lengthy discussions of trivial problems, he is engaging in pseudoparticipation. Most people recognize these ceremonies as a waste of time." (Dale E Zand, "Information, Organization, and Power", 1981)

"Superordinate goals - the goals above all others [..] play a pragmatic role by influencing implementation at the operational level. Because an executive cannot be everywhere at once, many decisions are made without his knowledge. What superordinate goals do, in effect, is provide employees with a "compass" and point their footsteps in the right direction [... to] independent decisions." (Richard T Pascale & Anthony G Athos, "The Art of Japanese Management", 1981)

"Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them." (Laurence J Peter, Peter's Almanac, 1982) 

"Managerial accounting calls attention to problems and the need for action. It also aids in planning and decision making. It is aimed more at control and less at valuation than financial accounting." (John A Reinecke & William F Schoell, "Introduction to Business", 1983)

"We try to make management decisions that, if everything goes right, will preclude future problems. But everything does not always go right, and managers therefore must be problem solvers as well as decision makers." (James L Hayes, "Memos for Management: Leadership", 1983)

"By assuming sole responsibility for their departments, managers produce the very narrowness and self-interest they deplore in subordinates. When subordinates are relegated to their narrow specialties, they tend to promote their own practical interests, which then forces other subordinates into counter-advocacy. The manager is thereby thrust into the roles of arbitrator, judge, and referee. Not only do priorities become distorted, but decisions become loaded with win/lose dynamics. So, try as the manager might, decisions inevitably lead to disgruntlement and plotting for the next battle." (David L Bradford & Allan R Cohen, "Managing for Excellence", 1984)

"Management manages by making decisions and by seeing that those decisions are implemented." (Harold Geneen & Alvin Moscow, Managing, 1984)

"The formal structure of a decision problem in any area can be put into four parts: (1) the choice of an objective function denning the relative desirability of different outcomes; (2) specification of the policy alternatives which are available to the agent, or decisionmaker, (3) specification of the model, that is, empirical relations that link the objective function, or the variables that enter into it, with the policy alternatives and possibly other variables; and (4) computational methods for choosing among the policy alternatives that one which performs best as measured by the objective function." (Kenneth Arrow, "The Economics of Information", 1984)

"Ethical pressures and decisions are viewed through the prism of one's own personal values. The distinction between personal and organizational values, however, often becomes blurred, especially the longer one stays with a particular organization and/or advances up the hierarchial ladder." (Warren H Schmidt & Barry Z Posner, Public Administration Review, 1986)

"[Management science techniques] have had little impact on areas of decision-making where the management problems do not lend themselves to explicit formulation, where there are ambiguous or overlapping criteria for action, and where the manager operates through intuition." (James L McKenney & Peter G W Keen, Harvard Business Review on Human Relations, 1986)

"Nothing creates more self-respect among employees than being included in the process of making decisions." (Judith M. Bardwick, "The Plateauing Trap", 1986)

"Operating managers should in no way ignore short-term performance imperatives [when implementing productivity improvement programs.] The pressures arise from many sources and must be dealt with. Moreover, unless managers know that the day-to-day job is under control and improvements are being made, they will not have the time, the perspective, the self-confidence, or the good working relationships that are essential for creative, realistic strategic thinking and decision making." (Robert H Schaefer, Harvard Business Review, 1986)

"People will make reasonable decisions if they are given proper information." (Thom Serrani, Management Review, 1986)

"Some management groups are not good at problem solving and decision making precisely because the participants have weak egos and are uncomfortable with competition." (Chris Argyris, Harvard Business Review, 1986)

"The style of participative management is at its best when the supervisor can draw out the best in his people, allow decisions to be made at the point of influence and contribution, and create a spirit that everyone is in it together and that if something is unknown, they'll learn it together." (Joseph A Raelin, "Clash of Cultures: Managers and Professionals", 1986)

"Decisions should be pushed down as far as possible, to the level of competence. This allows senior managers more time for making decisions of a more complex nature."(Robert Heller, "The Pocket Manager", 1987)

"Despite the codes of ethics, the ethics programs, and the special departments corporations don't make the ultimate decisions about ethics. Ethical choices are made by individuals." (M Euel Wade Jr., [speech] 1987)

"Managers exist to plan, direct and control the project. Part of the way they control is to listen to and weigh advice. Once a decision is made, that's the way things should proceed until a new decision is reached. Erosion of management decisions by [support] people who always 'know better' undermines managers' credibility and can bring a project to grief." (Philip W Metzger, "Managing Programming People", 1987)

"Most managers are not capable of making decisions involving complex technological matters without help lots of it. [...] The finest technical people on the job should have a dual role: doing technical work and advising management." (Philip W Metzger, "Managing Programming People", 1987)

"Participative management is, simply stated, involving the right people at the right time in the decision process." (Wayne Barlow, 1987)

"People in the corporate world play to a higher audience that equates action with results. The constant pressure is to demonstrate that you are a tough manager capable of making tough decisions." (Charles J Bodenstab, Inc. Magazine, 1987)

"There's a tendency to think of conflicts of interest as an administrative problem: identifying potential or actual conflicts and then resolving them.... But often, resolving them requires a leadership decision, not an administrative one." (Ira Millstein, 1987)

"Visuals act as punctuation points in your presentation. They offer relief to the audience and make the audience's commitment a series of short decisions to stay tuned instead of one long, unattractive obligation." (Ed Brenner, 1987)

"Whenever decisions are made strictly on the basis of bottom-line arithmetic, human beings get crunched along with the numbers." (Thomas R Horton, Management Review, 1987)

"The major fault in this process - and thus, in the way we were making decisions - is that it lacks an organizing framework. In pursuing a variety of goals and objectives, in whatever situation we manage, we often fail to see that some of them are in conflict and that the achievement of one might come at the expense of achieving another. In weighing up the actions we might take to reach our goals and objectives, we have no way to account for nature's complexity and only rarely factor it in." (Allan Savory & Jody Butterfield, "Holistic Management: A new framework for decision making", 1988)

"A holistic perspective is essential in management. If we base management decisions on any other perspective, we are likely to experience results different from those intended because only the whole is reality." (Allan Savory & Jody Butterfield, "Holistic Management: A new framework for decision making", 1988)

"No decision in business provides greater potential for the creation of wealth (or its destruction, come to think of it) than the choice of which innovation to back." (Robert Heller, "The Decision Makers", 1989)

"You need to understand that informed intuition, rather than analytical reason, is the most trustworthy decision-making tool to use." ( Geoffrey Moore, "Crossing the Chasm", 1991)

"A model for simulating dynamic system behavior requires formal policy descriptions to specify how individual decisions are to be made. Flows of information are continuously converted into decisions and actions. No plea about the inadequacy of our understanding of the decision-making processes can excuse us from estimating decision-making criteria. To omit a decision point is to deny its presence - a mistake of far greater magnitude than any errors in our best estimate of the process." (Jay W Forrester, "Policies, decisions and information sources for modeling", 1994)

"Pure rationality and limited rationality share a common perspective, seeing decisions as based on evaluation of alternatives in terms of their consequences for preferences. This logic of consequences can be contrasted with a logic of appropriateness by which actions are matched to situations by means of rules organized into identities." (James G March,"A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen", 1994)

"The risk of making a decision that's wrong is so enormous that sometimes it just crushes people so that they can't make any decision at all because they're afraid of making the wrong decision." (James M McPherson, "An Exchange With a Civil War Historian", 1995) 

"The science of statistics may be described as exploring, analyzing and summarizing data; designing or choosing appropriate ways of collecting data and extracting information from them; and communicating that information. Statistics also involves constructing and testing models for describing chance phenomena. These models can be used as a basis for making inferences and drawing conclusions and, finally, perhaps for making decisions." (Fergus Daly et al, "Elements of Statistics", 1995)

"Most managers are not capable of making decisions involving complex technological matters without helplots of it. [...] The finest technical people on the job should have dual role: doing technical work and advising management." (Philip W Metzger & John Boddie, "Managing a Programming Project: People and Processes", 1996)

"So we pour in data from the past to fuel the decision-making mechanisms created by our models, be they linear or nonlinear. But therein lies the logician's trap: past data from real life constitute a sequence of events rather than a set of independent observations, which is what the laws of probability demand. [...] It is in those outliers and imperfections that the wildness lurks." (Peter L Bernstein, "Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk", 1996)

"Delay time, the time between causes and their impacts, can highly influence systems. Yet the concept of delayed effect is often missed in our impatient society, and when it is recognized, it’s almost always underestimated. Such oversight and devaluation can lead to poor decision making as well as poor problem solving, for decisions often have consequences that don’t show up until years later. Fortunately, mind mapping, fishbone diagrams, and creativity/brainstorming tools can be quite useful here."(Stephen G Haines, "The Manager's Pocket Guide to Strategic and Business Planning", 1998)

"Within image theory, it is suggested that important components of decision-making processes are the different 'images' that a person may use to evaluate choice options. Images may represent a person's principles, goals, or plans. Decision options may then match or not match these images and be adopted, rejected, considered further, depending on circumstances." (Deborah J Terry & Michael A Hogg, "Attitudes, Behavior, and Social Context: The Role of Norms and Group Membership", 1999) 

"Data have to be filtered in some manner to make them intelligible. This filtration may be based upon a person's experience plus his presuppositions and assumptions, or it may be more formalized and less subjective, but there will always be some method of analysis. If experience is the basis for interpreting the data, then the interpretation is only as good as the manager's past experience. If the current situation is outside the manager’s experience, then his interpretation of the data may well be incorrect. Likewise, flawed assumptions or flawed presuppositions can also result in flawed interpretations. However, in the absence of formal and standardized data, most managers use the scat-of-the-pants approach. and in the end, about all they can say that some days appear to be better than others." (Donald J Wheeler," Understanding Variation: The Key to Managing Chaos" 2nd Ed., 2000)

"Faced with the overwhelming complexity of the real world, time pressure, and limited cognitive capabilities, we are forced to fall back on rote procedures, habits, rules of thumb, and simple mental models to make decisions. Though we sometimes strive to make the best decisions we can, bounded rationality means we often systematically fall short, limiting our ability to learn from experience." (John D Sterman, "Business Dynamics: Systems thinking and modeling for a complex world", 2000)

"Just as dynamics arise from feedback, so too all learning depends on feedback. We make decisions that alter the real world; we gather information feedback about the real world, and using the new information we revise our understanding of the world and the decisions we make to bring our perception of the state of the system closer to our goals." (John D Sterman, "Business dynamics: Systems thinking and modeling for a complex world", 2000)

"No plea about inadequacy of our understanding of the decision-making processes can excuse us from estimating decision making criteria. To omit a decision point is to deny its presence - a mistake of far greater magnitude than any errors in our best estimate of the process." (Jay W Forrester, "Perspectives on the modelling process", 2000)

"The robustness of the misperceptions of feedback and the poor performance they cause are due to two basic and related deficiencies in our mental model. First, our cognitive maps of the causal structure of systems are vastly simplified compared to the complexity of the systems themselves. Second, we are unable to infer correctly the dynamics of all but the simplest causal maps. Both are direct consequences of bounded rationality, that is, the many limitations of attention, memory, recall, information processing capability, and time that constrain human decision making." (John D Sterman, "Business Dynamics: Systems thinking and modeling for a complex world", 2000)

"Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise." (James Surowiecki, "The Wisdom of Crowds", 2005)

"The fact that cognitive diversity matters does not mean that if you assemble a group of diverse but thoroughly uninformed people, their collective wisdom will be smarter than an expert's. But if you can assemble a diverse group of people who possess varying degrees of knowledge and insight, you're better off entrusting it with major decisions rather than leaving them in the hands of one or two people, no matter how smart those people are." (James Surowiecki, "The Wisdom of Crowds", 2005)

"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter." (Malcolm Gladwell, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking", 2005)

"[...] under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them. Groups do not need to be dominated by exceptionally intelligent people in order to be smart. Even if most of the people within a group are not especially well-informed or rational, it can still reach a collectively wise decision." (James Surowiecki, "The Wisdom of Crowds", 2005)

"Decisions are always made with insufficient information. If you really knew what was going on, the decision would make itself." (Jack McDevitt, "Odyssey", 2006)

"Decision making is the process of identifying problems and opportunities and then resolving them. Decision making involves effort before and after the actual choice." (Richard L Daft & Dorothy Marcic, "Understanding Management" 5th Ed., 2006)

"Acquired patterns and the logic to employ them combine with our inherent qualities to create a unique decision-maker. As time goes by, experience and knowledge are focused through the prism of talent, which can itself be sharpened, focused, and polished. This mix is the source of intuition, an absolutely unique tool that each of us possesses and that we can continuously hone into an ever-finer instrument." (Garry Kasparov, "How Life Imitates Chess", 2007)

"It's not enough to be talented. It's not enough to work hard and to study late into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions." (Garry Kasparov, "How Life Imitates Chess", 2007)

"Sometimes the hardest thing to do in a pressure situation is to allow the tension to persist. The temptation is to make a decision, any decision, even if it is an inferior choice." (Garry Kasparov, "How Life Imitates Chess", 2007)

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach." (Anthony Robbins, "Awaken the Giant Within", 2007)

"Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information."(Peter Drucker, "The Effective Executive", 2009) 

"When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision. Don't keep putting off decisions. [...] In fact, merely writing the facts on a piece of paper and stating our problem clearly goes a long way toward helping us to reach a sensible decision." (Dale Carnegie, "How To Enjoy Your Life And Your Job" , 2010) 

"[...] a model is a tool for taking decisions and any decision taken is the result of a process of reasoning that takes place within the limits of the human mind. So, models have eventually to be understood in such a way that at least some layer of the process of simulation is comprehensible by the human mind. Otherwise, we may find ourselves acting on the basis of models that we don’t understand, or no model at all.” (Ugo Bardi, “The Limits to Growth Revisited”, 2011)

"Because people face trade-offs, making decisions requires comparing the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. In many cases, however, the cost of an action is not as obvious as it might first appear. […] The opportunity cost of an item is what you give up to get that item. When making any decision, decision makers should be aware of the opportunity costs that accompany each possible action." (N Gregory Mankiw, "Principle of Economics" 6th ed., 2012)

"Image theory is an attempt to describe decision making as it actually occurs. […] The concept of images is central to the theory. They represent visions held by individuals and organisations that constitute how they believe the world should exist. When considering individuals, the theory refers to these images as the value image, trajectory image and strategic image. The value image is based on an individual’s ethics, morals and beliefs. The trajectory images encompass the decision maker’s goals and aspirations. Finally, for each trajectory image, a decision maker may have one or more strategic images that contain their plans, tactics and forecasts for their goal. […] In an organisational decision-making setting, these images are referred to as culture, vision and strategy." (Christopher B Stephenson, "What causes top management teams to make poor strategic decisions?", 2012) 

"Good decision-making is like playing chess and you must avoid making hasty decisions without thinking of how that particular decision will impact on different aspects of your work and organization. The worst kind of decision-making is to decide to delay a difficult decision until later or to pass it to someone else to have to make. You will never excel and be valued by your colleagues if you get into these habits of procrastination and passing responsibility to others." (Nigel Cumberland, "Secrets of Success at Work: 50 techniques to excel", 2014)

"In general, when building statistical models, we must not forget that the aim is to understand something about the real world. Or predict, choose an action, make a decision, summarize evidence, and so on, but always about the real world, not an abstract mathematical world: our models are not the reality - a point well made by George Box in his oft-cited remark that 'all models are wrong, but some are useful'." (David Hand, "Wonderful examples, but let's not close our eyes", Statistical Science 29, 2014)

"After you think, you act. After you act, you learn. Make decisions, but decisions will have risks of mistakes. But make sure you avoid disastrous mistakes and avoid making the same mistake twice." (Sukanto Tanoto, [Keynote speech] 2015) 

"So everyone has and uses mental representations. What sets expert performers apart from everyone else is the quality and quantity of their mental representations. Through years of practice, they develop highly complex and sophisticated representations of the various situations they are likely to encounter in their fields - such as the vast number of arrangements of chess pieces that can appear during games. These representations allow them to make faster, more accurate decisions and respond more quickly and effectively in a given situation. This, more than anything else, explains the difference in performance between novices and experts." (Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool, "Peak: Secrets from  the  New  Science  of  Expertise" , 2016)

"Ideally, a decision maker or a forecaster will combine the outside view and the inside view - or, similarly, statistics plus personal experience. But it’s much better to start with the statistical view, the outside view, and then modify it in the light of personal experience than it is to go the other way around. If you start with the inside view you have no real frame of reference, no sense of scale - and can easily come up with a probability that is ten times too large, or ten times too small." (Tim Harford, "The Data Detective: Ten easy rules to make sense of statistics", 2020)

"A decision is an action you must take when you have information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself." (Arthur Radford)

"After a battle is over people talk a lot about how decisions were methodically reached, but actually there's always a hell of a lot of  groping around." (Frank J Fletcher)

"Decisions must be made at the lowest possible level for management at the top to retain its effectiveness." (Saxon Tate)

"If decisions were a choice between alternatives, decisions would come easy. Decision is the selection and formulation of alternatives." (Kenneth Burke)

"Long range planning does not deal with future decisions but with the future of present decisions." (Peter F Drucker)

"No great marketing decisions have ever been made on quantitative data." (John Sculley)

"Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile." (Bertrand Russell)

"Often greater risk is involved in postponement than in making a wrong decision." (Harry A Hopf)

"Our theory of management is that the time to get a decision doubles for every two levels of management; thus, parallel instead of serial decisions are best solutions." (Eberhardt Rechtin)

"Participative management is, simply stated, involving the right people at the right time in the decision process." (Wayne Barlow)

"The fact is you'll never have all the information you need to make a decision - if you did, it would be a foregone conclusion, not a decision." (David Mahoney)

"When possible make the decisions now, even if action is in the future. A revised decision usually is better than one reached at the last moment." (William B Given Jr.)

"Whenever decisions are made strictly on the basis of bottom-line arithmetic, human beings get crunched along with the numbers." (Thomas R Horton)

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