2.1 Exercising judgement

To understand how we make decisions, it is useful to start with the ways in which we make judgements about information we are presented with. Let's start this course with an activity designed to get you exercising judgement. The answers are at the end of the questions but please arrive at your own answers before checking them!

The questions in this activity are adapted from Bazerman (1998).


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1.1 Introducing decision-making

A vast literature on decision making stretches back over several centuries and encompasses a wide range of academic disciplines – from history and literature through to mathematics. This course is not a comprehensive survey of this field. Rather, we have chosen a few key topics that will help you to think in broader ways about how you and others take decisions; we shall also introduce you to some themes in social science which have direct relevance to managerial decision making. In particul
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • have greater insight into decision-making processes

  • use that insight to make more effective decisions

  • possess a range of different perspectives on what counts as an ‘effective’ decision

  • be better equipped to understand and influence the decision-making processes of other individuals and groups

  • understand better how people perceive and decide about risk.


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6.2 Political skills

A project manager will encounter politics – the struggle to acquire and maintain power – on a daily basis, as he or she competes to secure resources and support for their project. This is inevitable, given the probable diversity of backgrounds and expectations of those with an interest in the project. Political skills will be necessary to make deals and resolve conflicts with stakeholders, over whom project managers may have little formal authority. Managing the following aspects needs to
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5.1 The relationship with senior management

Senior management have a crucial sponsoring role to play both during the planning and the implementation of projects, in terms of establishing their legitimacy, making project resources available and endorsing project progress. For this reason, those involved in a project must be proactive about securing and maintaining senior management support throughout its lifetime. They need to be explicit with senior management that the project is both attractive and feasible. However, during a project,
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4.2 Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a project team

Those involved in a project may have skills that fulfil more than one aspect of the project agenda. This is likely to be particularly important in small-scale projects, where management of the content, process and control agendas are just as important to the project's success, but where fewer people are involved.

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4.1 Introduction

Some projects, especially large-scale ones, will rely on a team, not just an individual, for their successful implementation. Unlike permanent work teams, a project team's objective is the achievement of a finite and specific task – the project. Its performance, especially its ability to perform effectively as a group, is therefore critical to a project's outcome. However, it may prove relatively difficult for a project team to work well together at the outset, since its members are often d
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3 Identifying and involving stakeholders in a project

For every project, there will be a range of individuals or groups who have an interest in the different stages of the project. It could be the end users of an IT system, the line managers who will be expected to lead a restructuring initiative throughout the organisation, or the marketing department which will promote a new product. The support of these stakeholders is essential, if the project is to succeed. Therefore a key responsibility of the project manager will be to identify these stak
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1 Why people management matters to the successful delivery of projects

The importance of budget, time and quality to the success of projects means that they are often managed as technical systems rather than behavioural systems. Yet mismanagement of the ‘people’ aspects of projects is as likely to contribute to their failure as neglect of the ‘hard’ dimensions of project management. This is because the successful implementation of any kind of project requires the effective deployment of human as well as material resources. Indeed, without people, no proj
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1 Invention and innovation

The terms ‘invention’ and ‘innovation’ are sometimes used interchangeably, although the concepts are readily distinguished. As you will see here, it is helpful to make a distinction in the context of organisational analysis. First consider what you understand by the term invention.

A
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Introduction

Interpersonal communication in health and social care services is by its nature diverse. As a consequence, achieving good or effective communication – whether between service providers and service users, or among those working in a service – means taking account of diversity, rather than assuming that every interaction will be the same. This course explores the ways in which difference and diversity impact on the nature of communication in health and social care services.

This OpenL
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Social care, social work and the law - England and Wales
This free course is made up of four extracts related to social care, social work and the law in England and Wales. The extracts are stand-alone sections but follow on from each other to make up this course. You will be introduced to five main themes that shape practice in the field of social care and social work. The aim of this course is to enhance your understanding of the relationship between social work practice and the law. Author(s): Creator not set

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Understanding the past
Care can make deep inroads into personal lives and life narratives, so it is essential that care workers are sensitive to this and provide appropriate support. In this free course, Understanding the past, the history of Lennox Castle Hospital in Scotland provides a focus for considering the impact of institutional life. First published on Fri, 14
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Acknowledgements

This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence. See Terms and Conditions.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Sally Pawlik, Careers consultant
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1.12.2 Constructing discursive spaces

Finally, the notion of discursive space draws attention to the broader social practices which construct such spaces. Thus social scientists and discourse researchers have been interested in the practices of production of newspapers and the media and in the ways in which economic and technological developments construct discursive spaces. E-mail, the internet and computer-mediated communication are good examples of how changing practices produce new spaces which construct new kinds of discursi
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1.9.1 ‘I dunno’

In his analysis of Extract 5, Potter focuses on the phrase ‘I dunno’, which appears at the beginning and at the end of Diana's last turn above. This phrase seems throwaway, just one fragment, yet perhaps it illustrates something about people's methods or discursive practices more widely. Why is that phrase there? What work does it do? Given the point made in the previous section that events can always be described differently, why this description of this kind of mental state at this poin
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1.6 Discursive practices

Some of the thinking behind the claim that discourse is social action has now been unpacked. But what explains the order and pattern in this social action? One source of regularity is the discursive practices which people collectively draw on to organize their conduct. Take a look back again at Extract 1. Even this short piece of discourse reveals many complex layers of these practices. It reveals that there is such a thing as an interaction order to use a concept developed by
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1.5.1 The co-production of meaning

The third sense in which discourse is a social action refers to the origins of meanings. Meaning emerges from complex social and historical processes. It is conventional and normative. We have some idea what it signifies to say Prince Charles is a proud man because we are members of a speaking community and culture which has agreed associations for ‘proud man’. We draw on those to make sense. Meaning is also relational. Proud signifies as it does because of the existence of other t
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1.4.1 Discourse involves work

If discourse is doing something rather than doing nothing, what kinds of things are being done? We can see that Diana's account in Extract 1, like all accounts, constructs a version of social reality. When we talk we have open to us multiple possibilities for characterizing ourselves and events. Indeed, there are many ways Diana could have answered Bashir's first question in the extract above. Any one description competes with a range of alternatives and indeed some of these alternativ
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References

Audit Commission (2000) Another Country. Implementing Dispersal Under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, London, Audit Commission for Local Authorities and the National Health Service in England and Wales.
Bloch, A. (2002) Refugees' Opportunities and Barriers in Employment and Training, Department of Work and Pensions Research Report No.179, Norwich, HMSO.
Bloc
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