Assignment Outline



Students work ingroups of 3to complete this assignment.
Select a case of organizational decision making from the list of references attached, OR select a case from your own experience or reading. If you choose to do the latter, you should obtain the instructor's approval.
It is to your advantage to select your cases as early as possible. ByMarch 7, you should provide the instructor with the title and short description of the case you wish to analyze.

Presentations are scheduled forMarch 14, 21,28



, 2011. Indicate which date you prefer on thecourse wiki. Presentation materials are to be posted on the course wiki at least one day before the scheduled date. Each presentation should last not more than 35 minutes, including time for discussion. Your presentation should provide a clear narrative of the actors, events, and the decision made; followed by a theoretical analysis of the decision making process.
While no essay paper is required, each team should hand in the following to the instructor:
  1. a printed copy of the presentation slides

  1. a list of references on which the case is based

  1. a one-page report identifying the main contributions of each team member.

Your case analysis/presentation should, where applicable, cover the following.
  • The context of the decision making processes, including for example: the goals, activities, history and culture of the organization; the organizational structure; the complexity and special features of the task or problem; the cognitive styles and personality traits of the individuals involved; the major stakeholders of the decisions.
  • The main phases or activities of the decision making process, including for example: the background leading up to the problem situation; problem recognition; information seeking; development and evaluation of alternatives; selection of alternative; and outcome of the decision. Where possible, analyze the information seeking and information use behaviors in the decision making process.
  • Relate your case to one or more of the theoretical models introduced in class, as well as to other theoretical perspectives/cases you have come across. Show how these models/perspectives could provide additional insight into your case.
  • Assess the overall quality of the decision making process you presented. Identify its strengths and limitations. Suggest ways of improving the process.(Case presentation topics by students in recent courses:2009;2008;2007.)

Case Study Sources

These are initial suggestions that might help students to identify cases. Students would typically need to look for additional material after they have selected a case to study.
Bazerman, M. H., & Watkins, M. D. 2004. Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming, and How to Prevent Them. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Burns, Christopher. 2008. Deadly Decisions: How false knowledge sank the Titanic, blew up the shuttle and led America into war. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Browne, Mairead. 1993. Organizational Decision Making and Information. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. (Decision making by a council of a higher education institute in Sydney, Australia.)
Chiles, James R. 2001. Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology. New York: HarperBusiness. (Air France Concorde, Apollo 13, Hubble Space Telescope, etc)
Choo, Chun Wei. 2005. Information Failures and Organizational Disasters. Sloan Management Review 46 (3):8-10.
Choo, Chun Wei. 2009. Organizational Disasters: Why They Happen and How They May be Prevented. Management Decision, 46 (1): 32-46
Chua, Alton Y.K., Selcan Kaynak, and Schubert S.B. Foo. 2006. An Analysis Of The Delayed Response To Hurricane Katrina Through The Lens Of Knowledge Management. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58 (3):391-403.
Drummond, Helga. 1997. Escalation in Decision Making: The Tragedy of Taurus. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Ermann, M. David, and Richard J. Lundman, eds. 2001. Corporate and Governmental Deviance: Problems of Organizational Behavior in Contemporary Society. 6th ed.
Evan, William M., and Mark Manion. 2002. Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR. (Bhopal, Chernobyl, Ford-Firestone, Love Canal, Three Mile Island, Y2K, and many others.)
Fay, S. 1996. The Collapse of Barings: Panic, Ignorance and Greed. London: Arrow Business Books.
Finkelstein, S., Whitehead, J., & Campbell, A. (2009). Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Gerstein, M.S., & Ellsberg, M. 2008. Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental. New York: Union Square Press. (Chernobyl, Merck Vioxx, Hurricane Katrina)
E. Frank Harrison. 1999. The Managerial Decision-Making Process. 5th Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Iranian hostage crisis, Philip Morris in 1984, General Motors in 1978)
Kovacs, Beatrice. 1990. The Decision-Making Process for Library Collections: Case Studies in Four Types of Libraries. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. (Collection development decision making in public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries.)
Neck, Chris P., and Gregory Moorhead. 1992. Jury Deliberations in the Trial of US vs. John Delorean: A Case Analysis of Groupthink Avoidance and Enhanced Framework. Human Relations 45 (10):1077-1091.
Perrow, Charles. 1999. Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident, Bhopal Union Carbide plant, air traffic control.)
Shrivastava, Paul. Bhopal: Anatomy of a Crisis. 2nd ed. London: P. Chapman, 1992.
The 9/11 Commission. 2004. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton.
The Members of the Committee of the Inquiry. 2000. BSE Inquiry Report, Volume 1: Findings & Conclusions. London, UK: The Stationery Office.
Walker, J. S. 2004. Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.