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Decisions with Medium to Long-Term Consequences: Decision Processes and Structures
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. (Risk Analysis, Social and Decision Research Unit, Division of Work and Organizational Psychology)
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

All of us make more or less important decisions during our entire lives, in private and professional arenas. Some decisions have consequences for an individual or organization in the short term, others have long lasting consequences. This thesis concerns studies of decision processes and structures involved indecision-making with medium to long-term consequences for an organization or individual. Study I and II focus decision-making theory and judgments in procurement. Study III concerns real-life, individual career decision-making. Study I used a laboratory context for an investigation of willingness to pay (WP) for the creation of a procurement offer. Study II investigated organizational decision processes and structures of procurement of large projects in a nuclear power plant organization. Study III investigated the decision process used to make a choice between two professional training programs leading to psychotherapist certification. Study I found, that participants used a multiplicative combination of probability and profit when judging WP for the creation of a bid. Scales of subjective probability had smaller ranges than objective probability. In this context, participants were more sensitive to variation in monetary value than to probability. In Study, II it was possible to describe the procurement process in a framework of information search and decision theory. A Multi Attribute Utility Theory-inspired model was used by the staff, in the evaluations of procurement alternatives. Both compensatory (e.g. negative aspects can be compensated by positive aspects) and non-compensatory (particular “pass” levels of attributes have to be exceeded for acceptance of a choice alternative) decision rules were used. In study III it was found that a development and extension of Differentiation and Consolidation theory described individual reasons pro and con alternatives before and after the choice of a professional training program.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 2013. , 56 p.
Keyword [en]
decision-making, decision-structure, decision-process, decision-theory, nuclear safety
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95260ISBN: 978-91-7447-765-8 (print)OAI: diva2:660629
Public defence
2013-12-06, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. 

Available from: 2013-11-14 Created: 2013-10-24 Last updated: 2013-11-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Judgments of acceptable costs of hypothetical procurement offers as a function of success probability and profit: A vignette study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Judgments of acceptable costs of hypothetical procurement offers as a function of success probability and profit: A vignette study
(English)In: Psicológica, ISSN 0211-2159, E-ISSN 1576-8597Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This study treats procurement and judgment and decision-making using vignette scenarios in the perspective of the tenderer. It focuses on costs of creating a contract offer, risks of not winning a contract, possible profit following successful contract acceptance and the offering company’s’ size. The main hypothesis was that bidders deviate from classical economic theory. A second hypothesis was that judgments for bigger companies would allocate and accept greater maximum offer costs than smaller companies. The results showed that bidders deviated from classical EV-theory. They used a different multiplicative model for combining profit and probability, and there was no difference between responses for small and big companies. The factorial design revealed that subjective probability overestimated objective probability for low probability and underestimated greater probabilities. Finally participants were relatively more sensitive to changes in profit than to changes in probability.

Judgment, Procurement Offer, Probability, Profit, Chance
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95512 (URN)
Available from: 2013-10-30 Created: 2013-10-30 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Upphandling inom kärnkraftsindustrin, kvalitet, säkerhet och beslutsfattande
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Upphandling inom kärnkraftsindustrin, kvalitet, säkerhet och beslutsfattande
2010 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Procurement In the Nuclear Power Industry, Quality, Safety and Decisionmaking
Abstract [en]

The major purpose of the present study is partly to map and partly to make an analysis of the decision processes in the procurement routines in the nuclear industry in order to provide a basis for:

1. further development of safety inspections about procurements for Swedish Radiation Safety Authority

2. improvements of safety management in connection with procure- ment within a nuclear-power plant,

3. improvements of procurement routines in general in a nuclear power plant.

The procurement processes at a nuclear power plant were analyzed from a decision theoretic perspective. Key staff at the plant was interviewed and written instructions as well as digitalized processes were used in the analysis.

The results illustrate the most important moments during the procure- ment process with descriptions from interviews and documents. The staff at the nuclear power plant used a multi-attribute utility decision theory MAUT-inspired model in evaluation of alternatives and both compensatory (in which negative aspects can be compensated by posi- tive aspects) and non-compensatory (in which certain “pass” levels of attributes have to be exceeded for a choice) decision rules were used in the procurement process. Not surprising, nuclear safety was evalu- ated in a non-compensatory manner following regulatory criteria while costs were evaluated in trade-off compensatory rules, which means that a weakness in one consideration might be compensated by strength in another consideration. Thus, nuclear safety above the regulator’s and law requirements are not integrated in a compensatory manner when procurement alternatives are evaluated. The nuclear plant assessed an organization’s safety culture at an early stage of the purchasing process. A successful and a less successful procurement case were reported with the lessons learned from them.

We find that the existing written instructions for purchase were well elaborated and adequate. There is a lack of personal resources when procurement teams are formed. This means that external personal sometimes has to be engaged in such a team and therefore the emphasis on safety has to be communicated effectively to those joining the team from outside the plant. From a competition point of view, the number of potential suppliers is often too small. There is a feedback system of experience from previous contracts, but this information is of little use since it is not documented so that it is possible to conduct a quick and efficient information search, which would be a weakness when safety and quality information is needed quickly in a procurement process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, 2010. 44 p.
SSM-Rapport, ISSN 2000-0456 ; 2010:06
kärnkraftsindustrin, kvalitet, säkerhet, beslutsfattande
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53181 (URN)

SSM = Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority

Available from: 2011-01-20 Created: 2011-01-20 Last updated: 2013-11-01Bibliographically approved
3. Creating coherence in real-life decision processes: Reasons, differentiation and consolidation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creating coherence in real-life decision processes: Reasons, differentiation and consolidation
2010 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 51, no 2, 93-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Differentiation and Consolidation Theory describes human decision making as a process in which attractiveness values are restructured in order to reach a decision and support the decision made. Here, the theory was developed to include reasons pro and con alternatives and tested on students making decisions between two university psychotherapy training programs (cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy). Before and also after the decision, the attractiveness of the chosen alternative was upgraded and the non-chosen alternative downgraded. Different measures of evaluations of an alternative, such as ""best"" or ""worse"" converged over time until shortly after the decision. The number of reasons pro and con alternatives give a more complete picture than attractiveness and increased from the first to the last session. The reasons supporting the chosen alternative increased in strength, but reasons against the non-chosen alternative decreased. In informal comments participants reported that the study also served as a decision aid.

Decision making, career choice, coherence, confidence, differentiation, consolidation, psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-49267 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9450.2009.00739.x (DOI)000275466500001 ()

authorCount :2

Available from: 2010-12-17 Created: 2010-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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