Reading 1.5 Jackall, R. (1998), Chapter 4, ‘Looking up and looking around’, in Moral Mazes, Oxford University Press, NY. In this article, the author sees decision making as a blend of authority and developmental patterns. He classifies managers into consensus managers who cleverly persuade their team to advance towards set goals and take-in charge guys who drive others through their effective leadership. However, the decision making capability of managers are often restricted by their personal and political issues abound in all organisations. He says that while critical decisions involving substantial money and significant impacts on one’s organisation are needed to be taken, managers tend to resort to what he calls looking up and looking around. It is not due to their inefficiency in making important decisions, rather their fear of failure coupled with doubt in one’s capability that forces them to rely on others before taking a dive. While these aspects compel managers to choose short-term safety over long-term benefits, this method aids them in diluting their responsibilities amongst others involved. By doing so, in case of a failure, the managers have an advantage of shifting the blame on others instead of bearing it on themselves. The author sights the lack of proper responsibility tracking mechanisms as the reason for such blame games. As a result, an employee who is currently in charge of a task is the potential scapegoat during blame time even if the failure was derived from someone else who had previously worked on it. The author suggests that the solution to avoid these kind of problems in any organisation is the introduction of an effective responsibility tracking system. He points out that while milking could be an effective business strategy temporarily, it could lead to unfavourable outcomes on a long run. He emphasises that managers need to prioritise long-term organisational benefits over safeguarding personal interests and employ rationale while making critical decisions. During my tenure at Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd. as a Systems Engineer, I came across various phenomena the author has sighted in this article. My manager, though adequately experienced in the field, clearly lacked self-confidence during critical times. He used to evidently avoid responsibilities by diverting important decisions to his superior. Moreover, in order to avoid things in writing, he used to hold group meetings where responsibilities were not clearly defined. And during a crisis, he resorted to blaming failures on a scapegoat to secure his reputation. As a result the team’s confidence in the management dropped which impacted productivity. On escalating these matters to his superiors, an effective responsibility tracking system was put into effect and managers where trained to handle critical decision making more rationally and effectively.
Reading 5.2, Hogwarts, R.M. (1981) “Beyond discre92et biases: functional and dysfunctional aspects of judgemental heuristics’, Psychological Bulletin, 90(2) In this article, the author points out that recent researches on judgemental heuristics are predominantly focussed on identifying the major aspects governing it, but fail to indicate the conditions under which they occur. He emphasises that judgment is part of a dynamic and continuous process, contrasting previous researches carried out based upon only the discreet incidences that dot the process. This has led to two majors drawbacks: Firstly, the impact of feedbacks between an organism and environment in making choices and judgments have been largely overlooked. Secondly, the relevance of the theories and principle used in these researches with regard to a dynamic process is debatable. Any action carried out by an organism is met by a coherent feedback from its environment, which impacts its adaptive learning process. Also, the commitment to predictive judgment is subjected to the choices made. Moreover, while...
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