Making Decisions: More Than You Think

Decision tools for the new year, from IESE Insight


IESE Insight

We all make decisions every day, some of little importance, some with long-lasting impact. The ability to make good decisions is a defining trait of managers and leaders, and we need to work constantly on improving it. Issue 19 of the IESE Insight management review gives you the tools you need not only to make decisions, but to ensure they are smart.

Rafael de Santiago, chair of the Managerial Decision Sciences Department at IESE, shows how to use decision trees, and suggests some strategies to limit the influence of cognitive biases on our decision-making.

Our cognitive limitations also inform the work of Columbia Business School’s Sheena Iyengar, who shared her research on choice when she came to IESE for the European Conference of the Association for Consumer Research. In her article, she presents tips to simplify the complex process of choice, based on her award-winning book, The Art of Choosing.

As leaders, we need to appreciate the serious responsibility that comes with having to make decisions: IESE’s Sebastien Brion echoes this thought in his article on the power dimension of decision-making. As he makes clear, managers need to think carefully about which decisions will enhance their ability to influence others in positive directions -- not only to help everyone to do their jobs effectively, but also to ensure that they still have a job, since making the wrong decision could cost them.

The behavioral economist Colin F. Camerer discusses how managers and customers are influenced by mental framing, psychology and emotion. Speaking to IESE Insight during the Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision-Making Conference at IESE, he shares his latest research into what is going on in people’s brains when they are buying and selling assets during a bubble and a crash.

As Janet Yellen prepares to take up the reins of the U.S. Federal Reserve in January 2014, IESE’s Jordi Gual ponders the challenges facing the first woman in history to hold the chair of this important body. Will she manage to move the Fed away from the heterodox economic policies it has followed since 2008, and to do so in such a way that won’t throw the United States’ shaky recovery off course?

It seems the only decision left to make now is how you will use this issue of IESE Insight to improve yourself.

IESE Insight is a quarterly research-based magazine, published in separate English and Spanish editions. Its premium content is linked to articles from the IESE Insight knowledge portal, which contains research and teaching materials, opinion articles, business indices, audiovisual materials and an extensive database of more than 20,000 scholarly references.

Go to the IESE Insight Review website.