Exercises – Decision Making


What is one key element of intelligent decision making?

Tommy needs a car

The summer is just around the corner. You and your spouse don’t want to continue driving your son, Tommy (age 18), and his two younger sisters around town to their various activities. Since Tommy has a driver’s license and drives responsibly, the two of you will sit down together on Sunday evening and plan your search for a reliable, safe and economical used car.

Map out the decision making process in your culture: key factors, information gathering, information analysis, steps and their sequence, schedule, budget, possible involvement of Tommy.

Topic Questions


When in your respective culture do people take a systematic or a particularistic approach to a situation? In other words, when does your culture prefer to build a system or keep it simple by breaking a situation down into its component parts (particulars)?


Name one example from your culture where external factors should not get in the way of the process of making a decision. Then name an example where the opposite is true: where the process of making a decision should not get in the way of the decision itself.


Name an example from your respective culture when a decision should be made conservatively (protecting resources) and when a decision should be made aggressively (taking advantage of an opportuntiy)?


In your culture, how do people know what is too much or too little analysis? What criteria to they use?


How does your culture define risk? Describe a decision you made where you underestimated the risk and got burned.