Siebert, Johannes U.; Kunz, Reinhard, Rolf, Philipp. “Effects of decision training on individuals’ decision-making proactivity”, European Journal of Operational Research, 294 (1) 2021, 264-282, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2021.01.010
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.
This paper empirically tests the effect of decision training on two facets of proactive decision making—cognitive skills and personality traits—and on decision satisfaction. In quasi-experimental field studies based on three distinct decision-making courses and two control groups, we analyze longitudinal data on 1,013 decision makers/analysts with different levels of experience. The results reveal positive training effects on proactive cognitive skills and decision satisfaction, but we find no effect on proactive personality traits and mostly non-significant interactions between training and experience. These results imply the practical relevance of decision training as a means to promote effective decision making even by more experienced decision makers.
The findings presented here may be helpful for operations research scholars who advocate for specific instruction concerning proactive cognitive skills in courses dedicated to decision quality and/or decision theory and also for increasing, in such courses, participants’ proactive decision making and decision satisfaction. Our results should also promote more positive decision outcomes.