GRA 2204 Judgment and Decision Making in Organisations


GRA 2204 Judgment and Decision Making in Organisations

Responsible for the course
Thorvald Hærem

Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

Despite the fact that decision-making is an integrative part of most managers’ professional lives, most managers have never had any systematic training in how to make decisions. Judgment and decision making research shows that decision makers repeatedly make the same types of mistakes and errors when making decisions. By focusing on decision making failures and how decisions are actually made by individuals, groups and organisations, the objective of this course is to improve participants’ ability to make decision, as well as their capacity to observe and learn from decision-making processes.

Learning outcome
Understand the concept of decision making
Know about the cognitive foundations for decision making
Know fundamental flaws in assumptions of rational decision making models
Understand the relevance and scope of behavioral decision making at different levels of aggregation, for micro to macro
Know about important heuristics and decision making techniques
Know about individual differences and implications for decision making
Understand implications for organizing for decision making in organisations

Be able to identify decision traps
Reflect upon the decision making process on the fly
Know techniques to avoid the most important decision traps
Know how to use appropriate measures mitigating against conditions that may trigger flawed decision making processes
Being aware of the shifting of “cognitive gears” in decision making processes
Being able to diagnose threats to faulty decision making processes in groups

Developed a measured understanding about the relevance and scope of decision making in business
Be able to understand how decision making processes can be demystified
Have a realistic and empirically based attitude to the strengths and limits of human information processing in decision making processes
Developed a measured and empirically based understanding of how micro and macro conditions may interact to facilitate and inhibit effective decision making processes in a business context
Be able to identify the differences in decision process and decision outcome and reflect on the implications for management


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading
Plous, Scott. 1993. The psychology of judgment and decision making. McGraw-Hill

Collection of articles:
A collection of research articles will be made available before the course starts

During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination.

Recommended reading
Bazerman, Max H., Don A. Moore. 2013. Judgment in managerial decision making. 8th ed. Wiley
Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 499
Mitroff, Ian I. 1998. Smart thinking for crazy times : the art of solving the right problems. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Utsolgt fra forlaget

Course outline
- The psychological foundations of judgment and decision-making
- Problem formulation and psychological context
- Normative and descriptive models of individual judgment and decision making
- Cognitive heuristics and biases
- Individual differences in judgment and decision-making
- Group dynamics and group decision-making
- Strategic and organisational decisions
- Decision making tools

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
The course is structured as a combination of lectures, discussions, in-class activities, and compulsory student presentations. It requires substantial amount of preparation by the students and active involvement during class. A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

The course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
20% - Presentation
80% - Term paper (group work)

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Presentation 20%
Term paper 80% Group of max 3 students

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Examination code(s)
GRA 22044 continuous assessment accounts for 100% of the final grade in the course GRA 2204.

Examination support materials

Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honour code. Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and are values that are integral to BI's honour code system. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with the honour code system, to which the faculty is deeply committed. Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for academic misconduct. Issues of academic integrity are taken seriously by everyone associated with the programmes at BI and are at the heart of the honour code. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask. The learning platform itslearning is used in the teaching of all courses at BI. All students are expected to make use of itslearning.