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Programmed Decisions

Decisions encountered and made before, having objectively correct answers, and solvable by using simple rules, policies, or numerical computations.

Nonprogrammed Decisions

New, novel, complex decisions having no proven answers.


The state that exists when decision makers have accurate and comprehensive information.


The state that exists when decision makers have insufficient information.


The state that exists when the probability of success is less than 100 percent and losses may occur.


Opposing pressures from different sources, occuring on the level of psychological conflict or of conflict between individuals or groups.

Ready-Made Solutions

Ideas that have been seen or tried before.

Custom-Made Solutions

New, creative solutions designed specifically for the problem.

Contingency Plans

Alternative courses of action that can be implemented based on how the future unfolds.


A decision realizing the best possible outcome.


Choosing an option that is acceptable, although not necessarily the best or perfect.


Achieving the best possible balance among several goals.


A process in which a decision maker carefully executes all stages of decision making.

Illusion of Control

People's belief that they can influence events, even when they have no control over what will happen.

Framing Effects

A decision bias influenced by the way in which a problem or decision alternative is phrased or presented.

Discounting The Future

A bias weighting short-term costs and benefits more heavily than longer-term costs and benefits.


A phenomenon that occurs in decision making when group members avoid disagreement as they strive for consensus.

Goal Displacement

A condition that occurs when a decision-making group loses sight of its original goal and a new, less important goal emerges.

Cognitive Conflict

Issue-based differences in perspectives or judgments.

Affective Conflict

Emotional disagreement directed toward other people.

Devil's Advocate

A person who has the job of criticizing ideas to ensure that their downsides are fully explored.


A structural debate comparing two conflicting courses of action.


A process in which group members generate as many ideas about a problem as they can; criticism is withheld until all ideas have been proposed.

Bounded Rationality

A less-than-perfect form of rationality in which decision makers cannot be perfectly rational because decisions are complex and complete information is unavailable or cannot be fully processed.

Incremental Model

Model of organizational decision making in which major solutions arise through a series of smaller decisions.

Coalitional Model

Model of organizational decision making in which groups with differing preferences use power and negotiation to influence decisions.

Garbage Can Model

Model of organizational decision making depicting a chaotic process and seemingly random decisions.

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