Category Archives: publications-research

The quality of alternatives is crucial for making good decisions. This research, based on five empirical studies of important personally relevant decisions, examines the ability of decision makers to create alternatives for their important decisions and the effectiveness of different stimuli for improving this ability. For decisions for which the full set of potentially desirable alternatives is not readily apparent, our first study indicates that decision makers identify less than half of their alternatives and that the average quality of the overlooked alternatives is the same as those identified.

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Decision sciences are in general agreement on the theoretical relevance of decision training. From an empirical standpoint, however, only a few studies test its effectiveness or practical usefulness, and even less address the impact of decision training on the structuring of problems systematically. Yet that task is widely considered to be the most crucial in decision-making processes, and current research suggests that effectively structuring problems and generating alternatives—as epitomized by the concept of proactive decision making—increases satisfaction with the decision as well as life satisfaction more generally.

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Proactive decision making, a concept recently introduced to behavioural operational research and decision analysis, addresses effective decision making during its phase of generating alternatives. It is measured on a scale comprising six dimensions grouped into two categories: proactive personality traits and proactive cognitive skills. Personality traits are grounded on such theoretical constructs as a proactive attitude and proactive behaviour; cognitive skills reflect value-focused thinking and decision quality. These traits and skills have been used to explain decision satisfaction, although their antecedents and other consequences have not yet been the subject of rigorous hypotheses and testing. This paper embeds proactive decision making within a model of three possible consequences. We consider—and empirically test—decision satisfaction, general self-efficacy, and life satisfaction by conducting three studies with 1,300 participants.

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On the basis of an extensive interdisciplinary literature review proactive decision-making (PDM) is conceptualised as a multidimensional concept. We conduct five studies with over 4,000 participants from various countries for developing and validating a theoretically consistent and psychometrically sound scale of PDM. The PDM concept is developed and appropriate items are derived from literature. Six dimensions are conceptualised: the four roactive cognitive skills ‘systematic identification of objectives’, ‘systematic search for information’, ‘systematic identification of alternatives’, and ‘using a ‘decision radar’’, and the two proactive personality traits ‘showing nitiative’ and ‘striving for improvement’.

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The quality of alternatives is crucial for making good decisions. The process of generating high-quality alternatives can be enhanced by using decision makers’ objectives as prompts. This paper examines empirically the impact and interrelation of experience and the prompting with objectives on decision makers’ ability to create alternatives for an important decision. The study confirms with high significance that both experience and prompting with objectives enhance the quality of alternatives.

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This study addressed three questions: 1. What are the objectives of the leaders of ISIL? 2. What are the objectives of the followers of ISIL? 3. How are the two sets of objectives related? To answer these questions we analyzed the transcripts of interviews and presentations of 59 subject matter experts (SMEs) and conducted a separate analysis of speeches of ISIL leaders and selected Internet sources. In both efforts we identified and structured the strategic, fundamental, and means objectives of ISIL and its followers.

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To develop effective counterterrorism strategies, it is important to understand the capabilities and objectives of terrorist groups. Much of the understanding of these groups comes from intelligence collection and analysis of their capabilities. In contrast, the objectives of terrorists are less well understood. In this article, we describe a decision analysis methodology to identify and structure the objectives of terrorists based on the statements and writings of their leaders.

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Goal orientation is key to strategic management. In this field, the Balanced Scorecard is one of the most widely used management tools. It structures a company’s main objectives from different perspectives based on the strategy of the firm and uses performance indicators to measure the achievement of objectives and strategy. However, its method of creation is not theoretically sound. Value‐focused thinking is a decision‐making philosophy that fits perfectly with Balanced Scorecard creation. It provides methods and techniques for the identification and structuring of objectives that are suitable to systematically derive a scorecard from a means‐ends network.

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Objectives are fundamental to strategic management. However, while research exists on objectives of media companies, we know little about the relationships between them. In order to advance research in this field, we used value-focused thinking to investigate the objectives of a media company and the balanced scorecard as a framework to demonstrate their relationships. In interviews with 23 managers and employees of a German medium-sized local newspaper company, we found 698 distinct objectives and 1009 relationships.

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