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1 What does ‘life sciences’ mean?

During the twentieth century, particularly in its second half, the provision of human healthcare changed significantly because of scientific and technological developments. Before then, medical practice was limited and scarcely differentiated from other trades; in fact, barbers often acted as surgeons or dentists. Throughout the 1900s, there were major advances in most countries in sanitation, nutrition, vaccination, surgery, medicines and medical devices. At the same time, there was an incre
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Conclusion

We hope this course has set you thinking about how you and others make decisions. It has been a very brief and to some extent shallow introduction to some quite complex ideas. The reference list should give you some pointers to further resources which will help you explore this topic in greater depth.


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6.1 Introduction

An important aspect of decision making which crosses all three perspectives is making decisions about risks. Risk is all-pervasive in organisational life and many decisions require us to weigh up and choose between different kinds of risk. Thus any account of decision making would be incomplete without examining how our perceptions of risk affect our decisions. In this section we will examine risk from the three different perspectives we have identified: rational-economic, psychological and s
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5.6 A way of dealing with social pressures: decoupling

Organisations often deal with these social pressures by decoupling responses to these different pressures. The need to appear legitimate in the eyes of important constituencies is met by actions and practices which have a purely ceremonial character: they are done for the sake of appearances and not with any real engagement. The example in Author(s): The Open University

5.5.3 Normative pressures

Normative pressures concern what we think we ‘should’ do. They concern our values and the broader social values to which we subscribe. Some organisations make explicit attempts to foster particular kinds of value (for example, in relation to customer service), but normative pressures also come from outside the organisation, such as from a particular professional or religious affiliation.

Institutional pressures are important for both private and public-sector organisations.
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4.5 Deciding: problems of judgement

We are constantly bombarded by information. Simply walking though a room risks flooding us with more sensory information that we can possibly process. Stop for a moment and consider all the different things you can see, hear, smell, or feel.

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4.3 Framing the problem

As you saw in Activity 1, how a problem is framed can have a significant effect on how you make decisions. Medical decisions can be affected by whether outcomes are framed as likelihood of deaths or of saving patients. Financial decisions can be affected by whether you see yourself in a position of loss or gain. In a position of gain we tend to become risk averse; in a position of loss we will tend to take risks to avoid or recover losses. You may know people who are good at using this
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3.2 Utility theory

Utility theory is based on this assumption of rationality and describes all decision outcomes (financial and otherwise) in terms of the utility (or value) placed on them by individuals. Within this framework, decisions can be understood in terms of rationally ordered levels of utility attached to different outcomes.

Bazerman (2001, pp.3–4), for example, describes a formally rational decision process for arriving at a decision with the greatest expected utility in the following terms:<
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3.1 Introduction

Much of economics and finance theory rests on the notion of people as formally rational decision makers. First, people are understood to have ordered preferences. That is, if someone prefers A to B and prefers B to C then they should prefer A to C. Second, decision makers are assumed to engage in a formally rational decision-making process on the basis of those preferences.

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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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8 Satisfying the client and end user

Most projects have an identifiable client or customer group which will benefit from or use the outcome of the project. The client may be external to the organisation which is implementing the project, for example, the customer for whom a new building is being constructed. Or the clients may be internal, for example, the users of a new IT system. As we have already seen, it is important that the client or end user shares and endorses the project's objectives and is actively involved in its dev
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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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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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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

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2 What's so great about innovation?

So far we have suggested that innovation is a positive concept and, it appears, the rate of innovation continues to accelerate, led mostly by technology. The process is an example of positive feedback, in which the change is self-reinforcing: the development of technology itself increases the capacity for technological innovation, and raises the expectation of consumers for further innovation. While there seems little reason why this process of accelerating technological change should
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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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Becoming a critical social work practitioner
What does it take to become a critical practitioner in social work? This free course, Becoming a critical social work practitioner, will guide you through some important concepts. An understanding of 'critical perspectives' will help you take a positive and constructive approach to problems that arise in social work practice.
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this free course, you should be able to:

  • identify your objectives;

  • assess what you have to offer;

  • balance these against a practical framework of your personal circumstances;

  • explore a range of reference sources to select what is most relevant;

  • prepare an action plan, including evaluation of achievements;

  • produce ongoing strategies to develop your voluntary work;

  • understand emp
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