ERIC Number: ED282809
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Authoritarian Thinking, Groupthink, and Decision-Making under Stress: Are Simple Decisions Always Worse?
The concept of complexity in decision-making can be found in several lines of conceptualization in the area of national and international decision-making. One derives from the classic works on authoritarianism and dogmatism (Adorno, et al., 1950; Rokeach, 1960). Another approach relies on the variables that pertain to group dynamics and to behavior under stress (Janis, 1972, 1982). Similarly, situational theories posit that people under stress focus on partial information and make other stimulus-bound decisions without considering long-term outcomes and strategies. Psychologists familiar with these approaches have concluded that international decision-makers should be steered away from simple toward complex cognitive processes. There does seem to be a positive correlation between quality and the level of complexity that leads to decisions. But it is important to note that the correlation is circumscribed by environmental specifics. The leader who must respond quickly to a clear-cut danger, or is in the position of negotiating with an opponent who is implacably committed to a particular outcome, or is involved in an all-out conflict upon which major national values--or even national existence--depend, may have limited or no scope to afford flexibility. Social scientists need to devise a meta-theory that identifies characteristics of situations that require or reinforce simple approaches. (BZ)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (94th, Washington, DC, August 22-26, 1986).