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Decision Making and Training: A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Decision Making and Their Implications for the Training of Decision Makers

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Research rept. Jun 1973-Jul 1975

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This report reviews theoretical and empirical studies of decision making. The purpose of the review was to identify results that would be applicable to the problem of training decision makers. The literature on decision making is extensive. However, relatively few studies have dealt explicitly with the problem of training in decision-making skills. The task, therefore, was to gather from the general literature on decision making any implications that could be found for training. Decision making is conceptualized here as a type of problem solving, and the review is organized in terms of the following component tasks information gathering, data evaluation, problem structuring, hypothesis generation, hypothesis evaluation, preference specification, action selection, and decision evaluation. Implications of research findings for training are discussed in the context of descriptions of each of these tasks. A general conclusion drawn from the study is that decision making is probably not sufficiently well understood to permit the design of an effective general-purpose training system for decision makers. Systems and programs could be developed, however, to facilitate training with respect to specific decision-making skills. The development of more generally applicable training techniques or systems should proceed in an evolutionary fashion. Training is one way to improve decision-making performance another is to provide the decision maker with aids for various aspects of his task. Because training and the provision of decision aids are viewed as complementary approaches to the same problem, the report ends with a discussion of several decision-aiding techniques that are in one or another stage of study or development. Author

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology

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