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Managerial Decision Making

  • Teacher(s):   U.Hoffrage  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2019-2020, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Strategy, Organization and Leadership

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation Behaviour, Economics and Evolution

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Business Analytics

    Master of Law (MLaw) in Law and Economics



  • To identify phases in the decision making process,
  • To learn about the traps in each of these phases and
  • To learn about tools and techniques for making sound and rational decisions.
  • To learn about types of negotiations.
  • To learn how to increase the chances for making a good deal in a negotiation.


Business revolves around making decisions, often risky decisions, usually with incomplete information and too often in less time than we need. Decision-making is a business skill that managers often take for granted in themselves and others, but it is not as easy as some might think. This course will familiarize students with the most important approaches to decision making, thereby covering both descriptive theories and prescriptive tools. Moreover, various topics relevant for managers as decision makers will be discussed, for instance, emotions, group processes, the impact of time and time pressure, experience, accountability, or ethics, to mention just a few. Several examples, case-studies and exercises will illustrate how various tools can be applied to improve managerial decision making and to what extent various theoretical approaches are useful to understand what managers are actually doing.

A special focus will be on negotiations. A negotiation can be seen as the interaction of at least two parties whose interests are not the same and who have to make judgments and decisions when trying to find an agreement. We will look at different kinds of negotiations, and learn about negotiation tactics/strategies. In particular this part of the course will be quite practical, that is, include many actual negotiations and exercises in the classroom, but also real cases (which have been documented for teaching purposes).


The course is largely (but not exclusively) based on the following literature. Some parts are required, others are recommended, more detailed information will be provided in the class.

Russo, J. E. & Schoemaker, P. J. H. (2002). Winning decisions: Getting it right the first time. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Book review (of Russo & Shoemaker) by Patric Andersson (2003). Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 795-797 ( 48V83GT-3/2/21062afe8a7aba5be6d3914e0955c2f7)

Bazerman, M. H. (2006). Judgment in managerial decision making (6th ed.). New York: Wiley.

Hammond, J. S., Keeney, R. L., & Raiffa, H. (1999). Smart choices: A practical guide to making better decisions. New York: Broadway Books.

Galotti, K. M. (2002). Making decisions that matter: How people face important life choices. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Halpern, D. F. (2002). Thought and Knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Inc.

Hoffrage, U., & Marewski, J. (2015). Unveiling the Lady in Black: Modeling and aiding intuition. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 4, 145–163.

Klein, G. (2004). The power of intuition: How to use your gut feelings to make better decisions at work. New York: Currency/Doubleday.

Hogarth, R., (2001). Educating Intuition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gigerenzer, G. (2007). Gut feelings: The intelligence of the unconscious. New York: Viking Press. (Translated in 17 languages, so probably also in your native language).

Nutt, P.C. (1989) Making tough decisions: tactics for improving managerial decision making. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Fisher, R., Ury, W. L., & Patton, B. (2011). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Penguin.

Inside Risk. A documentary of a kidnapping case, with a focus on the negotiation with the kidnappers, (not publicly available).


Interest in the topic


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

Individual (or group) assignments (together 45%)

Group presentation on decision making case or topic (25%)

Contribution during class (15%)

Final Essay (15%)


Without exam (cf. terms)  

Components with grades below 4 will be replaced by essays (except for class contribution, which cannot be changed)

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