Decision Making Discussion

The Management Live 3.1 feature in Baldwin et al. (2013) mentions a meta-analysis that was conducted to examine the veracity of the advice of sticking with ones first instinct. A meta-analysis is a study that statistically combines a number of other studies that have been conducted. Because so many studies have been combined, we can arguably be more confident in the robustness of the findings. In other words, it isnt the case that just one study has shown the first instinct advice to be a fallacy. Moreover, the differences shown in the graph are fairly dramatic. When student responses were changed on an exam, 51% of them were changed from wrong to right while only 25% were changed from right to wrong, and another 24% were changed from wrong to wrong. Thinking about this another way, changing an answer is much more likely to help you than to hurt you! For every four times an answer is changed, only one of those results in a lower score (because 51% of changes were to the correct answer, and 24% of changes were wrong in the first place and wrong after the change).

This Management Live feature shows the necessity for scientifically studying phenomena; even when we think an answer is obvious, sometimes the data go against conventional wisdom. Moreover, the Management Live shows the importance of being willing to change your answer on an exam. This may be useful to know as a student, but think about how it may also apply in your workplace. Physicians routinely rely on research data and evidence in making decisions. What about your management abilities? Unfortunately, because we all think we are good at reading people and judging social situations, managers are far more likely to rely on gut instinct in making managerial decisions than on research evidence.

Questions to respond:
a. In what areas are you likely to use your best guess or instinct instead of looking to the literature and research to inform your decisions?
b. What can you do to become more aware of your own limitations in decision making?
c. How can you improve?

Personal Info: I’m a medicine student.


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