What Does Decision Making Really Mean Commerce Essay

As discussed in Section 2.2, decision-making has a long history surrounding a diverse number of perspectives, philosophical positions and prescriptions. Over the years there have been various debates about the possibilities and practices of effective strategic decision-making, the significance of strategic decision-making for other aspects of organisational functioning, the links with power in organisational settings and whether the concept has any real efficacy (Miller et al, 2006). To this extent, the term decision-making is first defined before the terminology strategic decision-making. Decision-making has been defined in numerous ways, the most common definition of the term

...‘is to make a judgement of what an individual should do in a certain situation after deliberating on some alternative course of action’ (Ofstad, 1961:5).

Likewise, Stoner et al (1994) defines decision-making as the

‘…process by which a course of action is selected as the solution to a specific problem’ (Stoner et al, 1994:132).

Adair (1999) defines decision-making as deciding what action to take usually involving a choice between different alternatives, while Mele (2010) contends that decision-making is a process in which a problem is defined and the decision maker structures one or more objectives to solve the problem. Other researchers consider decision-making and problem solving as activities that are in synergy with one another, an argument that is not held by all researchers. For instance, Lang et al (1978) argues that whilst some researchers view problem solving as a broad process that includes decision-making, others accept that problem solving is an element of decision-making.

The researcher maintains that decision-making may be part of the decision-making problem solving process up to the stage of implementation. This is because no decision needs to be made but there are significant steps in assessing whether the decision and outcome of the decision is effective.

There is no doubt that decision-making is an important topic especially in today’s current turbulent environment. According to Adair (1994) the ‘actual moment’ of a decision cannot be studied, therefore the process of decision-making is what needs to be understood. Adair (1994) further postulates that the outcome of a decision in terms of its success or failure is dependent on both the decision itself and the effective implementation of the decision.

Other researchers such as Kania (2008), argue that good decision-making needs data collection, analysis, action planning, implementation and evaluation concluding that a good decision will not adhere to just one approach but consider several methods. This view is also held by Hoy and Tarter (2010) stating:

‘…there is no best way to make decisions, in fact, a large part of the art of successful decision-making rests with the notion of matching the correct model of decision-making with the appropriate situation’ (Hoy and Tarter, 2010:351)

For the purpose of the research, a decision is defined as ‘a moment in an on-going process of evaluating alternatives for meeting an objective, in this case, the succession of the Kyoto Protocol, at which expectations about a particular course of action impel the decision maker to select that course of action most likely to result in stating the objective’ (Harrison, 1999). Decision-making on the other hand, is defined as ‘the process of making choices from amongst several options or alternatives (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007).

Strategic decision making are those that are made at the helm of the organisation and have a wide impact both internally and externally (Xxx)

2.3.1 Arguments for the Descriptive Models of Decision-making

Decision-making is a multifactor, multi-dimensional process that often requires the processing of information. As research has evolved, the distinction between descriptive and normative theories has become unclear (Dillion, 2007). Earlier researchers, Luce and von Winterfeldt (1994) postulate that the gap between ‘descriptive’ decision-making – what we are observed to do and ‘normative’ decision-making - what we should do, is extensive and has widened in recent years.

Normative theories have been refined so that they better ‘describe’ decision-making, e.g. Prospect Theory (Kahneman and Tversky 1979), Subjective Expected Utility (Von Neuman and Morgenstein, (1947). Similarly, descriptive theories have sought to introduce normative axioms; examples include the Advantage Model (Shafir, Osherson, and Smith, 1993). However, it is important that the distinction between the descriptive and normative models remains clear (Dillon, 2007). From a practitioners perspective the distinction acts as a useful reference point when attempting to improve managerial decision-making (Dillion, 2007). More recently, a third classifier has been introduced which better describes models such as the Advantage Model and the Prospect Theory, known as the ‘PrescriptiveModel’.

The ‘Prescriptive Model’ is one which can and should be used by a real decision maker and is tuned to both the specific situation, and needs of the decision maker. According to Dillon (2007) prescriptive models are based on both strong theoretical foundations of normative theory in combination with the observation of descriptive theory. The differences between the models of decision-making are highlighted in Figure 3 below.

Intelligence involves identifying the need for a decision. Once the need for a decision has been identified, the design phase commences which involves investigating and developing the problem domain and alternatives. According to Simon (1977) the final stage in the decision-making process is choice, which describes the activity of selecting the most appropriate course of action from the alternatives previously generated.

Huber (1980) distinguishes decision-making from ‘choice making’ and ‘problem solving’. Huber (1980) argues that ‘choice making’ refers to the narrow set of activities involved in choosing one option set from another set of alternatives. Choice making is one part of decision-making, while ‘problem solving’ refers to the broad set of activities involved in finding and implementing a course of action to correct an unsatisfactory situation (Huber, 1980). Decision-making incorporates both these components and a decision process can therefore be defined as:

‘…a set of action and dynamic factors that begins with the identification of a stimulus for actions and ends with a specific commitment to action’ (Mintzberg et al, 1976:251).

Plunkett and Hale (1982) stress that decision-making is not an art but a process, the most important part of the process is the identification of worthwhile actions to undertake (Nutt, 1983). As such, Nutt (1983, 2011) therefore defines a decision process as:

‘… a made up stream of action taking steps that begins with claims by stakeholders drawn from signals that seem important and end with a decision being adopted’ (Nutt, 1983:14)

Due to the complex nature of decision-making, various studies have attempted to explain the decision-making process. Examples include Simon (1977 cited by Knapp and Zupancic, 2007) stating that:

‘…decision-making comprises of four principal phases which are; finding the occasion for making a decision; finding possible courses of action; choosing among those courses of action and evaluating past choices’ Simon (1977 cited by Knapp and Zupancic, 2007:527).

The section below attempts to simplify the numerous processes involved in decision-making. No single analyses manage to incorporate all possible variables of decision-making. An alternative method researchers have taken to examine decision-making is to deconstruct the process into separate stages as illustrated in Figure 5 below.

2.3.2 The Decision-making Process

‘Decision-making is a process of making a choice from a number of alternatives to achieve a desired result’ (Eisenfuhr, 2011:2). Notably, leaders make a variety of decisions each day. These decisions can affect a limited number of individuals within an organisation or a wide range of people across continents. These decisions can be present from a few seconds to a few days or in the future, from a few weeks to many years. Furthermore, in the context of organisations such as the UN, a group of members consisting of representative countries, referred to as member states makes organisational decisions which impact the world, rather than individuals. On such basis, decision-making can be described as a social process whose outcomes are usually dispersed amongst an array of organisational members (Chen, Lawson, Gordon and McIntosh 1996: Gioffre, Lawson and Gordon 1992; Offermand and Gowing 1991; Sniezek and Henry 1990).

As previously stated, Figure 5 below illustrates the stages of decision-making which includes both process and outcome. Lawson and Shen (1998) argue that organisational decision-making usually arises within turbulent, cacophonous or high velocity environments in which change is ever present. The numerous challenges faced by leaders worldwide due to the impacts of climate change are a point in time. World leaders and governments have to make decisions to adjust and invest in policies, programmes, projects and other initiatives that reduce CO2 emissions to reduce the impact of climate change. The decision-making process within the UN is discussed in more depth in the subsequent chapter.

Decision-making usually commences with the identification of an opportunity also known as ‘anticipatory decision-making’ or a problem i.e. ‘reactive decision-making’. The challenges posed by climate change are reactive despite an aspect of anticipatory decision-making in terms of making decisions to lessen the impact of climate change. To date, some of the impacts of climate change are being mitigated by implementing various ‘green initiatives’ i.e. tree planting and other environmental friendly programmes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – a carbon trading scheme between rich and poor nations.

Generally, the more closely the decision-making group is to the real time data (Lawson and Shen, 1998) the more likely they are to identify opportunities (such as technology transfer, new markets, organisational processes) rather than focus on problems defined by historical or forecasted data sets. Thereafter the decision-making group needs to determine if the focal situation is an important opportunity or problem that requires attention and action.

Using the decision-making diagram above, Stages 3 and 4 can be completed quickly or slowly depending on the decision maker’s level of tolerance for risk. In considering different alternatives climate change decision makers are now focusing on implementation issues, so there is a clear linkage between the process and outcome components (UN, 2010).

In stages 5 and 6 there is a shift to what may be called the right-to the-left thinking in that the goal or anticipated outcome of the decision is now clearly stated and attention is given to plans of action that outline what specifically needs to be undertaken. This right-to-left thinking increases the anticipation of the barriers and the development of strategies to deal with them. Once a decision is implemented, it is important to monitor the outcome measures such as improved quality, reduced environmental impact, reduced costs, shorter delivery timescales, environmental programme performance, etc. (Nutt and Wilson, 2010). The outcome measures need to be determined and undertaken carefully including an appropriate feedback loop. However, Lawson and Shen (1998) argue that without systematic feedback it is impossible to determine the overall effectiveness of the decision-making process.

Furthermore, leaders often have to vary their approach to decision-making depending on the particular ‘situation’ in question (Stoner et al, 1994). Simon (1997) assumes that decisions can be classified as either programmed or non-programmed.

Lawson and Shen (1998) ascertain that programmed decisions usually involve highly repetitive and routine problems in which the procedures for decision-making are well established, applied frequently, easily triggered and requires immediate action. Similarly, Simon (1977) suggests that in programmed decision-making the focus is on the implementation of the decision with the first steps highly standardised as represented in operating manuals and standard operating procedures.

Nutt (2010) also suggested that programmed decisions are made in routine, well-structured situations using predetermined decision rules. The decision may be based on habit, statistical techniques or established policies and procedures that stem from prior experience or technical knowledge about what works in the particular situation.

In contrast, non-programmed decisions are used when predetermined decision rules are impractical, as in novel or ill-structured situations (Bass 1983).  Most significant managerial decisions are non-programmed and involve significant uncertainty (Bartol et al 1998; Lawson and Shen 1998; Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter 2000; Stoner et al. 1994).  Decisions made under these conditions involve risk (Bartol et al 1998; Lawson and Shen 1998; Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter 2000; Stoner et al. 1994) and the possibility of a chosen action leading to losses rather than the intended results.

Bromiley and Rau (2010) suggested that uncertainty stems from a variety of sources. For example, elements in the environment that are difficult to predict or control can affect the success of a decision and cost and time constraints can limit information collection. Bartol et al (1998) also point out that social and political organisational factors such as poor inter unit communication makes relevant information gathering difficult in such situations. Moreover, rapid situational changes render information quickly obsolete.

Furthermore, according to researchers, the proportion of non-programmed decisions that leader makes increases at each hierarchical level (Bartol et al 1998). Since these decisions require effective decision-making skills and creativity, they provide the biggest challenge to leaders. Larrick (1993) points out that preferences for risk or certainty arises not only from the perceived value of outcomes and their probability but more importantly the outcomes will enhance or erode one's self-esteem and efficacy as a decision maker.

In general, most leaders believe that they reason clearly, exercise sound judgement and make decisions rationally and logically. However, many researchers have identified a number of systemic errors and fallacies that leaders tend to commit when thinking and making decisions (Nutt, 2010).

For example, leaders are influenced by whether a choice is framed in terms of gains or losses. Similarly leaders often take risk because they do not necessarily assume that they will have to suffer the consequences of a ‘risky’ decision (Bromiley and Rau, 2010). Thus a leader’s choice is often unduly tilted in the direction of what they want or what they want to believe. Moreover, as previously stated, when making decisions leaders tend to over estimate how many other people agree with their attitudes and beliefs. According to Larrick (1993) a judgemental bias known as ‘false-consequence bias’ can modulate decision-making; as such, decision-makers need to appreciate both the rational, objective forces, the cognitive and affective forces that can shape a decision.

2.3.2 Models of Decision-making

The interdisciplinary aspects of decision-making are best illustrated within the framework of models. These models illustrate how much emphasis applicable disciplines receive in the strategic decision-making literature.  Moreover, models can represent a particular segment of the real world when placed under varying conditions (Nutt, 2010).    

Rice and Bishoprick (1971) defined models as follows:

'Models can be mathematical, social or philosophical. They can involve physical phenomena, emotional phenomena or in fact anything capable of theoretical analysis. Because they are used in theoretical analysis they have been many different models developed to explain the same or similar phenomena.  Each theoretical discipline, in examining an occurrence must develop its own model to explain it'. Rice and Bishoprick (1971:47)

Researchers have argued that there are four types of decision-making models (Kania 2008, Browne, 1993; Harrison, 1987). These models are the

Rationality Model or Rational Choice Model

Bureaucratic / Organisational Model

Political Model

Process models.  

Section 2.2 discussed the main tenants of strategic decision-making theory – i.e. ‘Descriptive’, ‘Prescriptive’ and ‘Normative’ which is also depicted in Table 2. The researcher’s choice and arguments for the descriptive model of decision-making is based on the fact that descriptive models describe the process of what leaders and managers actually do in decision-making (Dillon, 2007). The section below gives an overview of the various descriptive models of decision-making, concluding with the justification for the ‘Bounded Rationality Model’ as none of the other models were considered suitable for the phenomenon under investigation.

2.3.3 Descriptive Models of Decision-Making

Descriptive decision-making models vary by the extent to which they make trade-offs among attributes (Payne et al, 1993). According to Schoemaker (1980) a model is deemed Non-Compensatory if ‘surpluses’ on subsequent dimensions cannot compensate for deficiencies uncovered at an early stage of the evaluation process; since the alternative will have already been eliminated. In other words, models which eliminate alternatives through sequential comparison or assessment of their attributes are classified as being Non-Compensatory. Once these attributes have been disregarded based upon the single attribute evaluation, they cannot be assessed on any other attribute regardless of their performance on these subsequent attributes. Other researchers have argued on the contrary that being ‘Compensatory’ implies that a decision maker will ‘trade-off’ between a high value on one dimension of an alternative and a low value on another dimension (Payne, 1976).

The oldest descriptive theory is the ‘Satisfying Model’ which is closely linked to the idea of ‘Bounded Rationality’ (Simon, 1960). The theory posits that decision makers choose an alternative that exceeds some criterion or standard. This argument is centred on the fact that decision makers do not and cannot maximise in most situations. In other words, the ‘Satisfying Model’ entails choosing the first alternative that satisfies minimal standards of acceptability without exploring all possible alternatives (Nielsen, 2011). According to Simon (1997:141)

…. ‘Decision-making whether individual or organisational is concerned with the discovery and selection of satisfactory alternatives; only in exceptional circumstances is it concerned with the discovery and selection of optimal alternatives’’.

In the case of the current research, the Fiftieth ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP15) of the UNFCCC aimed to establish a decisive legally binding agreement by the end of 2012 to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. The establishment of a legally binding agreement to reduce CO2 emissions to stabilize greenhouse gases to reduce the impacts of climate change is taken as the optimal outcome of the decision-making process. The concept of ‘Bounded Rationality’ is therefore considered more appropriate and is discussed in more depth in Section 2.4 below.

The ‘Garbage Can Model’ is another ‘Descriptive Model’ in response to organised anarchies also known as decision situations, characterised by three general properties: ‘Problematic Preferences’, ‘Unclear Technology’ and ‘Fluid Participation’ (Cohen et al, 1972). The theory postulates that within an organised anarchy, it is difficult to assign preferences to a specific decision problem due to the fact that the organisation consists of a loose, ill-defined group of ideas rather than a set of clear preferences. This model is fundamentally distinct from other descriptive theories, on the basis that when most decision situations occur, conventional practice is to determine the most appropriate action. Therefore, to understand processes within an organisation, one can view a choice opportunity as a ‘Garbage Can’ into which various kinds of problems and solutions are deposited by participants as they are generated (Cohen, et al, 1972). This model was deemed unsuitable for the current research in that this model does not take contextual factors into account. Rajagopalan et al (1993) maintains that despite the differences amongst the various models which have attempted to explain strategic decision-making, general propositions can be drawn about the likely influencing factors such as the internal organisation, context and environmental factors. Furthermore, mixing problems, solutions and decision participants results in interaction patterns leading to decisions which do not follow a logical process (Lunenburg, 2010).

A modern theory of the descriptive model of decision-making is the ‘Image Theory’ developed by Beach and Mitchell (1990). ‘Image Theory’ is based on the ‘Lexicographic Model’ discussed below, and the ‘Strategy Selection Model’ (Tversky, 1972). This model is a refinement and synthesis of existing ideas applied to real world decisions. The model attempts to describe two types of decision-making namely, ‘Progress Decisions’ and ‘Adoption Decisions’. Progress decisions relate to whether past decisions are being carried out whilst adoption decisions replace incorrect or unachievable decisions made previously (Tversky, 1972). Due to the changing nature and complexity of climate change and the decision-making processes within the UN organisation, this model was not considered appropriate for the current research. More specifically, whilst progress decisions are applicable within the UN system, once a decision has been adopted, these decisions are not usually ratified due to the global impact these decisions have on nations.

The ‘Conjunctive’ also known as the ‘Disjunctive Model’ is a combination of models and works by combining information. The model as proposed by a number of researchers (Coombs and Kao, 1955; Dawes, 1974; Einhorn, 1970) and aims to select a solution or a group of potential solutions from a list of alternatives. All alternatives which exceed some threshold or aspiration level become part of this group. Alternatives which do not exceed the level are eliminated. The model attempts to search for an adequate solution or solutions rather than the optimal solution.

Inconsistent CO2 emission reduction targets amongst member, mainly the developed nations and other signatory parties to the UNFCCC excluded the ‘Conjunctive Model’. In essence, this is based on the premise that currently there exists no common threshold in terms of CO2 reduction targets amongst member states to discuss available alternatives in terms of the succession to the Kyoto Protocol. The Convention text is neither linked with quantitative emission reduction targets nor with certain threshold values as the limit of the atmospheric GHG concentrations (UNFCCC 2006:21).

In the Lexicographic Model the decision maker should know the attributes which make up the alternatives and must be able to rank them in order of importance (Tversky, 1969). Each pair of alternatives is compared in terms of attributes beginning with the most important, until dominance over one solution over the other occurs. Tversky (1974) goes a step further and presents a probabilistic model of choice – the ‘Elimination By Aspects (EBA) Model’ which is related to the earlier ‘Lexicographic Model’ in that they both follow intra-dimensional evaluation strategies (Payne et al, 1993). Each alternative is viewed as a set of aspects which are sequentially evaluated.

However, due to the complex nature of climate change decision-making makes it impossible for all the attributes to be known. It is a phenomenon with multiple dimensions with the cause and impact distributed unequally in a temporal and geographical perspective. For example, researchers have argued that different parameters in climate change models have different impacts and yield different results, as such, it becomes difficult to rank alternatives to make meaningful decisions to address climate change (Dessai and Hulme, 2004). Furthermore, the principles within the UNFCCC, defined in Article 3, contain the approach to consider climate change as a collective challenge but which needs to account for the different economic and geographical constitutions and capacities of the member parties which adds a further complexity to the model in terms of ranking evaluation strategies.

Klien (1989) developed the ‘Recognition Primed Decision’ (RPD) Model as a descriptive model of decision-making in natural settings, i.e. within some organisational real life context, and contains four major components; Recognising cases as ‘Typical’, ‘Situational Understanding’, ‘Serial Evaluation’ and ‘Mental Stimulation’. The four parts are employed in a sequential manner and involve revisiting and comparing previous decisions along with simulating how various options may be carried out and what the outcomes could be (Dillon, 2007).

The challenges offered in applying the RPDmodel of decision-making to this study are similar to those discussed above and has therefore been excluded.

Other models referred to in the descriptive literature are ‘The Additive’ and ‘Additive Difference Model’. These models are considered to be good approximations of multi-attribute decision behaviour in risk free situations and are more commonly used by researchers as tools to predict judgement of various experts such as clinical diagnosticians and stockbrokers (Schoemaker, 1980). However, these models were not suitable to be used in the current study due to the risk, uncertainty and complexity associated with climate change.

‘The Judgement’ and ‘Heuristics’ and ‘Biases’ Models represent other models in decision-making, more specifically from an economic psychology and behavioural economic literature perspective (Wilkinson, 2008). These models are considered alternatives to Prospect Theory discussed earlier in this chapter leading to the concepts of ‘Rationality’ and ‘Bounded Rationality’.

2.4 Rationality and Bounded Rationality

According to Hendry (2000), earlier perspectives of strategic decision-making amplifies decisions as being conceptually unchallenging, ontologically unproblematic and shaped by managerial intention. This is a view grounded in the notions of ‘Rationality’ which is defined as the

….’use of scientific reasoning empiricism and positivism, as the decision criteria of evidence, logical argument and reasoning’ (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007:12).

As previously identified, rational behaviour is typified by a decision maker who has a ‘well-organised and stable system of preferences including a skill in computation that enables him to calculate, for alternative courses of action available to him. One of these alternatives enables him to reach the highest attainable point on his preference scale (Simon, 1955).

2.4.1 The Rational Model of Decision-making

The ‘Rational Model’ is based on the assumption that decision makers are entirely rational and seek the best or most effective alternative for a given problem (Brown, 1993). The ‘Rational Model’ is the classical approach in the field of decision theory and provides the foundation for the quantitative disciplines of economics, mathematics and statistics and is the primary reason why many practitioners regard decision-making as essentially quantitative (Bartol et al, 1998).

However, critics of the ‘Rational Model’ was based on the fact that some problems in society cannot necessarily be addressed by quantitative models and the behavioural aspect of decision-making is fundamental, leading to the development of other decision-making models, such as the ‘Bounded Rational Model’. As previously stated, Simon (1947) is the key proponent of this argument. The ‘Rational Model’ explicitly presumes that if a given variable cannot be assigned a numeric value, it should be disregarded or assumed as a constant or given a value. The ‘Rational Model’ is a model which operates within a closed environment with a single fixed objective and a rather precise number of variables.

Neoclassical economic assumptions underpin such perspectives where decision-making is viewed as a rational choice based on logical connections between cause and effect, where the decision-maker identifies a problem, searches for alternative potential solutions, prioritises preferences according to identified criteria and arrives at an optimising choice (Miller et al, 2006). In essence, rational decisions are decisions which are based on ‘Rationality’, that is on a rational mode of thinking (Simon, 1986; Langley, 1989).

The Rational Model of decision-making proposes a linear, sequential style of decision-making as depicted in Figure 6 below and can be broken down in to six steps:

It involves identifying and defining the problem, generating alternatives, evaluating the alternatives, gathering and analysing the facts relevant to the problem and selecting the most satisfactory alternative and converting this to action.

The Rational Model further assumes that decision makers:

Have complete information on the problem;

Have complete information about all alternatives and the consequence of selecting one alternative over another; and

Make a decision solely on the basis of expectations of the future outcomes, rather than on power or political considerations (Schoernfield, 2011).

Climate change is a complex phenomenon with a considerable amount of uncertainty which affects the world population at large (UN, 2010).

To date no complete information on the appropriate solution(s) to address climate change exists. A number of decisions have been considered in relation to the succession of the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, many other discrete decisions outside the scope of this research such as decision-making relating to the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries have been explored as a way to combat climate change. Furthermore, the UN system consists of 193 member states (UN, 2010) comprising of numerous political groupings such as the African Group, the Group of Seventy Seven Countries and China (G77+China) the Least Developed Countries (LDC) to mention a few. The decision-making process within the UN system as it relates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is discussed in more depth in Chapter Three.

Notwithstanding, given the above, the Rational Model of decision-making was deemed to be inappropriate in addressing the research questions due to the nature and uncertainty of the problem of climate change, the nature and organisational composition of the UN system in terms of the large number of member states and political groupings within the UN system, and the role that these groups play in determining decisions.

A criticism of the Rational Model is that it aggregates the behaviour of individuals and groups. It assumes that since individual mangers make rational decisions, group decision-making is also rational. In general, individuals and organisations such as the UN aspire to make many decisions as possible on the basis of rational considerations. However, there are many impediments to this approach, such as, the nature of the organisation, constraints on resources, limited information that can be amassed on climate change and processed by the decision-making group within a given time.

Furthermore, Simon (1945) argued the limitations of the Rational Model and ascertained that decision-makers cannot operate under conditions of perfect rationality, instead decision-makers operate within a ‘Bounded Rationality’. Simon (1960) argued ‘Bounded Rationality’ recognises that: -

‘The definition of a situation is likely to be incomplete;

It is impossible to generate all the alternatives;

It is impossible to predict all the consequences of each alternative; and

Final decisions are often influenced by constructing personal and political factors’ Simon (1960: 334).

The view that leaders operate within a ‘Bounded Rationality’ is also held by other researchers. Miller and Wilson (2006) argue, managers are independently rational and their behaviour is reasoned and not irrational, which is a natural distinction, but unrealistic to expect them to meet the stringent requirements of strictly rational behaviour.

Following an extensive review of the literature, Bounded Rationality has been a key component since the 1950’s in public administration and public policy studies (Jones, 1999). According to various researchers (Lyenyar, 1999; Sniderman et al, 1999; Marcus and Makuen, 1993) the theory of Bounded Rationality has also been used to understand political reasoning an important component in the decision-making process of the UN system.

Numerous empirical studies of human decision–making from experiments in the laboratory to large-scale social surveys to observational studies in the field have demonstrated that individuals do not often conform to the strictures of Rationality (Nutt and Wilson, 2010).

2.5 Different Levels of Decision-Making

As discussed in section XXXX decisions which occur regularly, are familiar, routine and made in a relatively straight forward fashion are known as programmed decisions (Simon 1960). These decisions tend to be made lower down in the organisation and are more akin to the prescripts of ‘Rational Model’ (Butler, 1990).

In contrast, non-programmed decisions are unfamiliar, unusual and novel and are not encountered in the same way (Miller and Wilson, 2006). According to Papdakis and Barwise (1998) the topic for the decision maybe complex, making definition problematic, information may be needed that is both difficult to collect and categorise, solutions hard to recognise, creating new problems, as evident in climate change (UN, 2009). These decisions are usually about significant areas of organisational activities, involve significant resources, with consequential repercussions and are often hard to preserve (Wilson et al, 1996; 1999; Papadakis and Barwise, 1998). These non-programmed decisions also known as ‘strategic decisions’ have implications for leaders and are usually sanctioned by the most senior executives in an organisation.

2.5.1 Group Decision-making

Largely absent in all of the decision-making treatment in public policy is an appreciation of the extent to which decision makers attempt to influence others. Decisions are argued to be inevitably linked to interpersonal factors. Policy decisions in the international arena such as the UNFCCC are most often participative (UN, 2010). This means that participants such as member states will attempt to form or alter the opinions of one another.

The study of group decision-making entails two units of analysis, both personal and interpersonal. According to researchers, (Jensen 2007) it is individualistic because each person, although an actor in a larger group, behaves according to individual motives. Further Jensen (2007) states, that individuals most often do not finalise policy decisions by themselves thus the focus becomes personal as well based on group dynamics. Individuals in a group often attempt to affect group decisions by using certain tactics of influence.

Interpersonal influence or power has been the subject of research by organisational scholars for many decades and can be used to provide insight into the use of influence tactics in policy groups. The research does not intend to look into the different theories of power, but briefly discusses power as it relates to group decision-making in the context of the research.

Research to date has looked at power in the milieu of the leadership literature (Yukl, 2006). Power is a very complex social science construct which spans several disciplines (Jensen, 2007). Various definitions of power has been given over the years, for example, ‘’the ability of individuals to influence others in a setting (Kipnis, 1976). Other researchers have defined power as influence a person to do something that they would not otherwise have undertaken (Dahl, 1961). Furthermore, some researchers have made a distinction between power and influence. According to Yukl, Kim and Falbe (1996) power is where an individual has the potential to influence and influence is the actual change outcome of power. Drawing on the organisational behaviour literature, the research also explores the tactics used by different African leaders and members of the African Group in making decisions relating to the succession of the Kyoto Protocol.

To influence others, one must not only chose a tactic that fits the formal and informal institutional setting but also use the tactic in such a way that is socially acceptable. For example in a structured international policy-making meeting such as the UNFCCC, member states may make rational appeals to others in an attempt to influence them, a tactic that maybe socially acceptable, increasing the odds that the tactic outcome will be successful. Conversely, a member state may make threats to others which may not be socially acceptable and may therefore result in resistance by others (Jensen, 2007).

Regarding decision outcomes, influence tactics can affect decisions in several ways. Yukl, Kim and Fable (1996) reveal that in a response to an influence attempt, members within a group may commit, comply or resist. According to Jensen (2007) tactics can affect decisions at the formative stage, before an individual has solidified an opinion. Alternatively, tactics can lead to varying degrees of decision-making changes on the part of the group ranging from strong commitment to minimal compliance to complete resistance. Moreover, a member stste may not only resist the influence but instead may actually behave counter to the intention of the influencer. Certain influence tactics may elicit such a response, which goes beyond passive resistance and crosses into active resistance (Jensen 2007).

According to Jensen (2007), group decision outcomes have been overlooked by researchers, potentially due to the difficulty of setting up the appropriate decision-tracking methodology. Furthermore, according to Yukl and Tracey (1992) most studies to date have focused on the realm of individual-level human resource decisions, for example, selection and interview decisions, performance evaluations, and promotions and career progression (Higgins, Judge and Ferris 2003). To date, no study has empirically linked influence attempt that occur in a group context to the decision outcomes of group members in the context of climate change, which are linked to group, organisational or governmental outcomes which is another contribution of the research and a potential area for future research in group decision-making and decision outcomes.