This paper describes an integrative, experiential approach to teaching problem solving and decision making from two different perspectives: prescriptive theory using "quantitative" tools and models, and behavioral theory. Behavioral theory addresses both the cognitive and affective domains of information processing - what the decision maker does and how decisions are affected by habitual factors, personal values, psychological aspects, organizational context and external and internal pressures. The results of an online survey of the alumni of the first eight EMBA groups of a West Coast University using this approach are discussed. The survey provided data on three main areas concerning the respondents’: (1) decision making practices; (2) the nature of their decision making environment and (3) thoughts and reflections on the impact of the course. It appears that integration of behavioral and quantitative approaches is effective since the participants considered themselves to be good or effective decision makers. The alumni said that an integrated behavioral and quantitative approach to decision making is valuable in assessing their internal decision making capabilities. They feel more in charge rather than allowing outside or environmental factors influence their decisions and have more than an intuitive grasp of a structured approach to decision making. This lends credence to the fact that executive education that considers human and quantitative factors, in combination, is desirable for reducing defects in decision making. The resultant action taken by decision makers, such as managers and CEOs, will become more streamlined and efficient. Nevertheless, to fully judge the impact of this approach further systematic confirmatory research in other institutions and environments is recommended.
Przasnyski, Zbigniew H. and Elias, Frederick G.
"An Experiential and Integrative Approach to Problem Solving and Decision Making,"
Journal of Executive Education: Vol. 10
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/jee/vol10/iss1/2