Management Decision Making

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STRUCTURE OF EXAM
• Answer any four questions.
TOPICS
We have covered the following topics in lectures and seminars:
1. Limited capacity processing and the distinction between System 1 and System 2 thinking
2. Value based versus reason based theories and their implication for marketing, business and managerial decisions.
3. Prospect theory, its two phases, decision framing and the framing bias; framing issues and biases.
4. Mental Accounting.
5. Gathering and interpreting decision information: Judgments of risk and uncertainty, overconfidence, heuristics, error and biases, how to overcome them
6. Motivational biases.
7. Naturalistic approaches, recognition-primed decision making
8. The effects of emotion, stress and time pressure on judgement and decision making
There will not be a question directly on topic 1 (decision theory) but it provides a background and/or a contrast (e.g. Topic 3) so you may need to have some basic knowledge of it for some answers. Either/Or question different this year and related to topics 2 and 6.
• Vital that you discuss the material you present in the context of managerial/business/personal decision making AND think about the strengths and weaknesses (better spending extra time on this reflection/criticism/application/examples than reading even more articles/chapters)
• The bottom line – you need to demonstrate you understand the key concepts / approaches / theories / ideas covered on the module, so need to feed these back in your answer to demonstrate this to marker. But also need to show you have thought about the theory and research and used the material TO ANSWER THE QUESTION SET. Also, you should provide examples from managerial and personal situations and use these to discuss the implications for human / managerial decision making.
GOOD ANSWERS:
• An introduction (short paragraph) addressing the question set, putting it into its academic context, identifying the broad structure you are going to use to answer the question (i.e. the main sections of your answer / how it is to be organized).
• The main body reviewing relevant theory and research, relating it to the question set and indicating how it furthers our understanding of the question. If you can attribute the ideas to actual researchers (e.g. Kahneman and Tversky 1984) all the better, but better to include material unattributed than not at all. You can use figures and tables where appropriate.
• Well illustrated with relevant theory, research and practice
• Better to cover a few things in depth than listing many things and treating each superficially. Indicate that this is your strategy in the introduction e.g. ‘while people use many heuristics and these give rise many biases, limits on time mean that we shall only explore a few of these in this answer’.
• A conclusion that returns to the question set and draws conclusions as an answer to it.
• A critical approach throughout of theory, research, method and applicability.
• Relevance to and implications for ‘everyday’ and managerial decision making including ‘real personal or managerial examples (but not too much – you must show you understand the key concepts and use them to answer the question set)

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