Making Decisions in the Absence of Clear Facts: A Historical Perspective


Phokion ‘Ion’ Georgiou




Fundação Getulio Vargas

Recently, a claim has been made that executive decisions makers, far from being fact collectors, are actually fact users and integrators. As such, the claim continues, executive decision makers need help in understanding how to interpret facts, as well as guidance in making decisions in the absence of clear facts. This report justifies this claim against the backdrop of the modern history of decision making, from 1956 to the present. The historical excursion serves to amplify and clarify the claim, as well as to develop a theoretical framework for making decisions in the absence of clear facts. Two essential issues are identified that impact upon decision making in the absence of clear facts, as well criteria for decision making effectiveness under such circumstances. Methodological requirements and practical objectives round off the theoretical framework. The historical analysis enables the identification of one particular established methodology as claiming to meet the methodological requirements of the theoretical framework. Since the methodology has yet to be tried on information-poor situations, a further project is proposed that will test its validity.

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