Decision Making Strategies
Within any organization or process, there is the cognitive and purposeful role of decision making that is the result of taking in stimuli, choosing from alternatives, and making a final choice of an action, in action, or choice of action. This is true in the small business world, multinational corporations, individual life, and even with governments. It impacts Foreign Policy, trade, economics, and most certainly the idea of globalism -- behavior in a world in which countries are tied economically so much that political or social conflict diminishes.
One other way of looking at decision making is that it is ingrained within the human psychological perspective; one can get quite complex about this, but essentially, from a cognitive perspective, any decision making process needs to be continuous and evolving as the individual or organization reacts to the environment, and the stimuli received. Thus, from a normative perspective, there is a logic and rationality involved in the ongoing process, we may or may not agree with that logic, but for the individual or group making the decision, the process is there (Kahneman & Tversky, 2000).
In the contemporary political world, the decision making policy of countries like the United States and Israel is complex, multidimmensional, situational, and certainly dynamic. Israel, for instance, fears agression from all sides, and has worked within that paradigm for decades. In recent history, the United States has never been invaded, but after the events of September 11, 2001 now has a more realpolitik viewpoint on internal vulnerability to terrorist, similar to what Israel continues to face. Geography, domestic factors, economic stability, political acumen and stability, and the complexities of relations in the global world all work together to drive decision making.
Certainly, this does not indicate that thereis unilateral agreement on decision making within any governmental body; or that there is a continual consensus of opinion in either Israel or the United States about most any topic. Instead, when we look at decision making from the macro level, we are forced to first examine the public output of the decision -- the one that binds through internal or international law as the dominant paradigm; and then the overal theoretical basis for that decision.
Theories of Decision Making
For the purposes of this paper, we will overview the basic paradigm of decision making and look at two major theories. In brief, there are really three cognitive styles when dealing with the decision making process:
Typology -- Types, such as those introduced by behaviorist Isabel Briggs Meyers, are ways of organizing decision making based on cognitive styles. For her, there are four dimensions: thinking and feeling, extroversion and introversion, judgment and perception, and sensing and intuition. Whether one adopts her exact idea, the point is that decisions are made based on preconceived patterns of thought processes, which takes into account national and cross-cultural differences (Martinson, 1990)
Optimizing vs. Satisficing -- This view, also called "bounded rationality" expresses the idea that human decisions are made based on available information, time, and the informative processing ability of the decision maker's mind. Maximizes take longer making decisions because they need to maximize performance across all variables and are careful about tradeoffs; they also tend to regret decisions because they are more able that satisficers to realize that a decision may have been less than optimal (Lehrer, 2009).
Combinatorial vs. Positional -- Of course, individuals make decisions in a variety of ways, but there are two major styles according to this approach -- positional and combinational. Both styles may be used in the same decision, and are exemplified if one analyzes a chess game. The combinational style is often used for narrow, clearly defined, and primarily materials goals in which the initial position and the final outcome are linked. Few, if any, options are left for the opponent and if forces decisions from others that fit in with the original paradigm. The positional style, in contrast, serves to create a predisposition to the future, but one of development; it includes the environment in certain ways, and it absorbs and unexpected outcome in one's favor, thus allowing both sides to feel as if there is more of a win-win than a route. Often, one style bleeds into another as negotiations evolve...
Other situations are interpreted as more complex, novel or important and, therefore, require significant information search and analysis before action can be taken by the manager. This view also asks us to understand the manner in which various information sources are used to interpret and act upon complex events and how those complexities interact to form a cogent methodology for decisions (Peterson, 2000).
Kluckoln and Strodtbeck -- The "Value Orientation Model" helps the decision maker work with peoples of other cultures who have a different world view. The VOM (Value Orientation Method) allows one to understand the core cultural differences related to the five basic human concerns, or orientations: Human Nature, Man-Nature Relationship, Time-Sense, Activity, and Social Relations. European cultures tend to see the model as a future oriented, focused individualistic model, while those of more native cultures tend to be past oriented and emphasize group relations and harmony between nature and humans (Russo, 2000)
Overview of U.S. Decision Making
There is no one way the United States, or any other country, makes decisions and bases its view upon a single view or theory. Instead, there are a multitude of ways decisions are made depending on circumstances, information, and worldview. Certainly, decisions surrounding the bombing of Pearl Harbor were, by today's standards, made in a vacuum -- there was little information even weeks after the event. Similarly, decisions have been made that affect millions of people based on the 9/11 attacks. Still, that being said, there are certain archetypes and ingrained paradigms that countries tend to emulate when looking at themselves and their position within the world. This is inexorably tied with culture, history, and position in the world. The United States, just after the Civil War, was in no position to make certain foreign policy decisions until after it had coalesced its military and economic might, and really not until the end of World War II. The United States today makes decisions based on a model that is emerging from the Cold War Paradigm -- five decades of a primary focus on Soviet domination (Ambrose & Brinkley, 2011).
Cultural logic, then, for the United States is based on a very different set of values than other countries. Other than the British during the War of 1812, the United States has never really been invaded. Since the Civil War ended in 1865, the U.S. has not been a large scale battleground, nor suffered from the massive influx of refugees from its own country and the tremendous devastation hoisted upon Europe and the Soviet Union during and after World War II. For this reason, in general, U.S. cultural decisions are based on self-reliance over dependence, mobility over excessive ties, and individualism. We have a tough time understanding individuals who prefer identity as a group or people who are not assertive in their needs. Similarly, many cultures rarely "shoot from the hip," and demand much more consensus in decision making than the United States, which at times makes decisions and then finds the policy and reasons to justify those decisions (O'Boyle, 1996).
For the past several decades, then, U.S. decisions have been based on:
Tradition -- the role to ameliorate suffering wherever found
Authority -- Popular support and political support; the majority at least
Feasibility -- The U.S. can do anything once it puts its mind to it.
Precedent -- The U.S. saved the world from communism and has been the world's police since 1945
Desirable outcomes -- Stop killing, restore order, support allies and national interests
Undesirable outcomes -- Long occupations, continued or domino conflicts (Noble, Sander, & Obenshain, 1995),
Overview of Israeli Decision Making
By modern standards, Israel is a new state, having been formed with a great deal of difficulty and combativeness in 1948. Since then, they have been invaded by neighboring Arab states, found several wars, occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. Portions of these territories have been annexed by Israel, and yet the border with the West Bank has never been determined. Despite years of negotiations and significant peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have not resulted in peace (Long, 2010).
When a society is trying to modernize and is made up of several different ethnic peoples, aligned by religion and the…
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