Many models of (un)ethical decision making assume that people decide rationally and are in principle able to evaluate their decisions from a moral point of view. However, people might behave unethically without being aware of it. They are ethically blind. Adopting a sensemaking approach, we argue that ethical blindness results from a complex interplay between individual sensemaking activities and context factors.
Every time another corporate scandal captures media headlines, the ‘bad apple vs. bad barrel’ discussion starts anew. Yet this debate overlooks the influence of the broader societal context on organizational behavior. In this article, we argue that misbehaviors of organizations (the ‘barrels’) and their members (the ‘apples’) cannot be addressed properly without a clear understanding of their broader context (the ‘larder’). Whereas previously, a strong societal framework dampened the practical application of the Homo economicus concept (business actors as perfectly rational (...) and egocentric utility-maximizing agents without any moral concern), specialization, individualization and globalization led to a business world disembedded from broader societal norms. This emancipated business world promotes a literal interpretation of Homo economicus among business organizations and their members. Consequently, we argue that the first step toward ‘healthier’ apples and barrels is to sanitize the larder, that is, adapt the framework in which organizations and their members evolve. (shrink)
This article provides an overview of recent results on lexicographic, linear, and Bayesian models for paired comparison from a cognitive psychology perspective. Within each class, we distinguish subclasses according to the computational complexity required for parameter setting. We identify the optimal model in each class, where optimality is defined with respect to performance when fitting known data. Although not optimal when fitting data, simple models can be astonishingly accurate when generalizing to new data. A simple heuristic belonging to the class (...) of lexicographic models is Take The Best (Gigerenzer & Goldstein (1996) Psychol. Rev. 102: 684). It is more robust than other lexicographic strategies which use complex procedures to establish a cue hierarchy. In fact, it is robust due to its simplicity, not despite it. Similarly, Take The Best looks up only a fraction of the information that linear and Bayesian models require; yet it achieves performance comparable to that of models which integrate information. Due to its simplicity, frugality, and accuracy, Take The Best is a plausible candidate for a psychological model in the tradition of bounded rationality. We review empirical evidence showing the descriptive validity of fast and frugal heuristics. (shrink)
The terms nested sets, partitive frequencies, inside-outside view, and dual processes add little but confusion to our original analysis (Gigerenzer & Hoffrage 1995; 1999). The idea of nested set was introduced because of an oversight; it simply rephrases two of our equations. Representation in terms of chances, in contrast, is a novel contribution yet consistent with our computational analysis System 1.dual process theory” is: Unless the two processes are defined, this distinction can account post hoc for almost everything. In contrast, (...) an ecological view of cognition helps to explain how insight is elicited from the outside (the external representation of information) and, more generally, how cognitive strategies match with environmental structures. (shrink)
Stanovich & West analyze individual differences with respect to response output (e.g., participants' numerical estimates). They do not analyze the underlying cognitive processes that led to the outputs; they thereby probably misclassify some non-normative responses as normative. Using base rate neglect and overconfidence as examples, I demonstrate the advantages of analyzing cognitive processes further.
Given free information and unlimited processing power, should decision algorithms use as much information as possible? A formal model of the decision-making environment is developed to address this question and provide conditions under which informationally frugal algorithms, without any information or processing costs whatsoever, are optimal. One cause of compression that allows optimal algorithms to rationally ignore information is inverse movement of payoffs and probabilities (e.g., high payoffs occur with low probably and low payoffs occur with high probability). If inversely (...) related payoffs and probabilities cancel out, then predictors that correlate with payoffs and consequently condition the probabilities associated with different payoffs will drop out of the expected-payoff objective function, severing the link between information and optimal action rules. Stochastic payoff processes in which rational ignoring occurs are referred to as compressed environments, because optimal action depends on a reduced-dimension subset of the environmental parameters. This paper considers benefits and limitations of economic models versus other methods for studying links between environmental structure and the real-world success of simple decision procedures. Different methods converge on the normative proposition of ecological rationality, as opposed to axiomatic rationality based on informational efficiency and internal consistency axioms, as a superior framework for comparing the effectiveness of decision strategies and prescribing decision algorithms in application. (shrink)
A lot of research in cognition and decision making suffers from a lack of formalism. The quantum probability program could help to improve this situation, but we wonder whether it would provide even more added value if its presumed focus on outcome models were complemented by process models that are, ideally, informed by ecological analyses and integrated into cognitive architectures.
The notion of ecological rationality implies that the accuracy of a decision strategy depends on features of the information environment in which it is tested. We demonstrate that the performance of a group may be strongly affected by the decision strategies used by its individual members and specify how this effect is moderated by environmental features. Specifically, in a set of simulation studies, we systematically compared four decision strategies used by the individual group members: two linear, compensatory decision strategies and (...) two simple, noncompensatory heuristics. Individual decisions were aggregated by using a majority rule. To assess the ecological rationality of the strategies, we varied the distribution of cue validities, the quantity, and the quality of shared information. Group performance strongly depended on the distribution of cue validities. When validities were linearly distributed, groups using a compensatory strategy achieved the highest accuracy. Conversely, when cue validities followed a J-shaped distribution, groups using a simple lexicographic heuristic performed best. While these effects were robust across different quantities of shared information, the quality of shared information exerted stronger effects on group performance. Consequences for prescriptive theories on group decision making are discussed. (shrink)
Making decisions can be hard, but it can also be facilitated. Simple heuristics are fast and frugal but nevertheless fairly accurate decision rules that people can use to compensate for their limitations in computational capacity, time, and knowledge when they make decisions [Gigerenzer, G., Todd, P. M., & the ABC Research Group (1999). Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart. New York: Oxford University Press.]. These heuristics are effective to the extent that they can exploit the structure of information in the (...) environment in which they operate. Specifically, they require knowledge about the predictive value of probabilistic cues. However, it is often difficult to keep track of all the available cues in the environment and how they relate to any relevant criterion. This problem becomes even more critical if compound cues are considered. We submit that knowledge about the causal structure of the environment helps decision makers focus on a manageable subset of cues, thus effectively reducing the potential computational complexity inherent in even relatively simple decision-making tasks. We review experimental evidence that tested this hypothesis and report the results of a simulation study. We conclude that causal knowledge can act as a meta-cue for identifying highly valid cues, either individual or compound, and helps in the estimation of their validities. (shrink)