Thumbnail Image

Decisionmaking in practice: The dynamics of muddling through

Flach, John M.; Feufel, Markus A.; Reynolds, Peter L.; Henrickson Parker, Sarah; Kellogg, Kathryn M.

An alternative to conventional models that treat decisions as open-loop independent choices is presented. The alterative model is based on observations of work situations such as healthcare, where decisionmaking is more typically a closed-loop, dynamic, problem-solving process. The article suggests five important distinctions between the processes assumed by conventional models and the reality of decisionmaking in practice. It is suggested that the logic of abduction in the form of an adaptive,muddling through process is more consistent with the realities of practice in domains such as healthcare.The practical implication is that the design goal should not be to improve consistency with normativemodels of rationality, but to tune the representations guiding the muddling process to increase functional perspicacity.
Published in: Applied Ergonomics, 10.1016/j.apergo.2017.03.017, Elsevier