ORG 3530 Problem solving, decision making and creativity

ORG 3530 Problem solving, decision making and creativity

Course code: 
ORG 3530
Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Course coordinator: 
Mads Nordmo Arnestad
Course name in Norwegian: 
Problemløsning, beslutninger og kreativitet
Product category: 
Bachelor of Organisational Psychology, HR and Leadership - Programme Courses
2021 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This course provides knowledge about how humans think: the doctrine of cognition. Cognitive psychology deals with all senior mental processes like senses and perception, attention, memory, problem solving, creativity, affect and decision making. This field is one of the biggest within psychological research and is connected to behavioral economics and practical organizational psychology. By learning about how people think and feel, one can achieve a greater understanding of oneself. By doing this, one can learn to solve problems in a more innovative way and make better decisions. This type of knowledge can be crucial when trying to create effective processes in knowledge intensive organizations, where people deal with problem solving, strategic decisions and creativity on a regular basis. Research indicates that theoretical knowledge about human cognition alone is not sufficient when trying to achieve better results. Therefore, the course offers a theoretical introduction to affect and cognition, along with techniques, like artificial intelligence, and work methods that can be used to succeed when solving problems, being creative, and making decisions.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After finishing this course, students will have:

Acquired knowledge about cognitions, like:

  • Senses, attention, and perception
  • Different forms of memory
  • Learning, and the basis of effective learning
  • Prediction of the future
  • Intuition and expertise

Been introduced to human problem solving, like:

  • Different types of problem framing
  • Different strategies in problem solving
  • Factors that promote and hinder successful problem solving
  • Problem solving in groups and teams

Been introduced to the topic of creativity, like:

  • Which factors promote and hinder creativity both individually and in groups
  • Different definitions and forms of creativity

Been introduced to the topic of decision making, like:

  • Descriptive and normative decision-making theory
  • Decision making traps caused by heuristics
  • Techniques that foster better decisions, both at an individual and organizational level
  • Individual and cultural differences in decision making styles

Knowledge about artificial intelligence, and how it can be used by individuals and organizations, like:

  • Artificial intelligence as a decision maker and as a decision-making aid

Knowledge about central psychological factors that weaken our understanding of the climate crisis, like:

  • Psychological obstacles that hinder us from acting when faced with the climate crisis
  • Cognitive obstacles that limit our understanding of the climate crisis
  • Moral psychological obstacles that limit our understanding of the climate crisis
  • Measures that can help individuals and organizations avoid these obstacles
Learning outcomes - Skills

After taking this course, students will:

  • Explain and analyze important traits of cognitive psychology
  • Know about techniques and work methods that facilitate problem solving
    • Know how work processes should be organized to solve problems in an optimal way
  • Know about techniques and work methods that foster creativity
  • Know how to organize exercises that foster creativity at both an individual and group level 
    • Know about techniques that facilitate their own creativity
  • Recognize the most common decision traps across different contexts
  • Know about different techniques and work methods that makes us avoid the most common decision traps:
    • The devil’s advocate exercise
    • Pre-mortem exercise
  • Know about measures of “nudging” that can be implemented for individuals and organizations, to foster better decision making
  • Know about the concept of behavioral intentions, and how formulating them can be useful to making better decisions.
  • Know about the tasks that artificial intelligence can perform better than humans, which tasks require human solving and how to use artificial intelligence in the most optimal way.
General Competence

After this course, students will:

  • Have developed their ability to reflect on possibilities and limits of human thinking
  • Realize the value of feedback regarding learning and achievement enhancement
  • Develop sensitivity to the different decision traps that can hinder goal attainment
  • Develop a humble meta-cognition; the attitude towards your own thinking and its limits
  • Accept the importance of an open and non-judgmental attitude to foster the creativity of the people around you.
  • Accept the limits of the human mind when facing large challenges like the climate crisis
Course content

The course is divided into six topics, and each of them deals with a distinct part of cognitive psychology. The first topics are related to knowledge about basic cognitive structures, while the latter subjects are more practically oriented.

  • Topic 1: What is a cognition – how does the mind work?
    • What does the architecture of the mind look like, and what is its basic function?
    • How do human beings perceive their surroundings: senses, attention, and perception?
  • Topic 2: The mind that adapts to its experiences
    • How humans store and retrieve knowledge and information
    • How learning happens
    • What is an intuition, and how does it work?
    • Under which conditions does experience lead to genuine expertise
    • How to become better at predicting
  • Topic 3: Problem solving and creativity
    • Different types of problem solving
    • Work methods and techniques that foster problem solving at an individual and group/team level and organizational level
    • What is creativity, why is it important, and how can it be measured?
    • Work methods and techniques that foster creativity
  • Topic 4: Decision making
    • Normative and descriptive decision theory; why we should make decisions, and how we actually make decisions
    • Common decision traps, and techniques to avoid them
  • Topic 5: Application: Individual, organization and culture
    • Measures to promote good decisions at an individual and organizational level
    • Individual and cultural differences in decision style
  • Topic 6: Thinking in the future, artificial intelligence, and sustainability
    • How artificial and human intelligence are similar and dissimilar, and which tasks they are best equipped to solve
    • The use of artificial intelligence as a decision aid in organizations
    • Cognitive mechanisms that hinder the correct understanding of the climate crisis and how these affect our actions
    • Moral judgment and its relevance for our understanding of the climate crisis
    • How knowledge about human cognition can promote better solutions to the climate crisis
Teaching and learning activities

The course is divided into six topics, each of them dealing with a distinct part of cognitive psychology. The first topics are related to knowledge about basic cognitive structures, while the latter subjects are more practically oriented. Each topic is dealt with over a period of two weeks, consisting of two lectures that last three hours. Additionally, we will have an introductory lecture that last three hours, and a summarizing lecture of three hours before the exam. In total, there will be 42 hours of teaching.

The syllabus that needs to be read, and podcasts that needs to be listened to in relation to each topic, will be communicated.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Students are invited to test themselves using several different tests in relation to the lectures. The tests will be available at the Clearer Thinking website:


Students who do not pass the written exam, or who wish to improve their grade, can take a new continuation exam when doing the exam at a later date.


Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Support materials: 
  • No support materials
3 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
ORG 35301
Grading scale: 
Examination every semester
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
42 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
60 Hour(s)
Feedback activities and counselling
18 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
77 Hour(s)
3 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.