Main Models of Decision-Making How Decisions are Taken? How do WE decide? Some requently used models: 1. Rational actor model? (= Expected utility model) 2. Social model 3. Management decision-making 4. Polyheuristic model
The Rational Model / Economic Rationality Model Decisions are based on pure rationality. The ideal case. (?) Focuses on the results and means. Has long been present, since Plato: The state Assumes: - Expected costs and benefits are properly calculated - There is enough time and capacity for proper calculations - Decisions are based on facts (all the necessary facts are available) - Decision is realistic concerning the means - Emotions and other cultural standards do not play any role - All possible alternatives are properly assessed
The Rational Model / Economic Rationality Model Weakness: - Sometimes calculations are just not proper. People make mistakes – so do politicians (particulary those ones, who decide alone) - Time may be short for proper calculations - Many important facts may not be available - The rationality of the chosen means may be improperly calculated - Emotions and cultural standards may indeed play a role - Not all possible alternative are assessed properly
The Social Model / Cognitive Approach Decision-Making is Influenced by social, cognitive factors. Focuses on the processing of information. Assumes that decision-making is defined by: - Framing - Beliefs - Schemata - Cultural standards and preferences WEAKNESS: the theory does not leave much space for rationality – they are de facto mutually exclusive.
Management Decision-Making / Bounded Rationality Model Developed by Herbert Simon. Intended to model how managers decide. Assumes that: - By assessing the alternatives, the manages looks for a satisfactory, ‘good enough’ version, not the theoretically best possibility - They are aware that their decision-making is based on simplifications ADVANTAGE:quick and flexible, because the aim is to satisfy, not maximize (no need to assess all alternatives) + does not require excessive mental capacities WEAKNESS: does not produce the maximum result theoretically available.
Poly-Heuristic Model Intended to offer a compromise between Rational and Cognitive Models. Assumes that: - Decision-making is a two-step process. In the first stage, decision-makers look for the alternatives, and reject those, which fail to meet a key dimension. Hence, no need for extensive alternative-search. - There IS a key dimension that is more important than the others. (for example, re-election chances) - This selection reduces the number of alternatives to a manageable amount, so it is easier to choose one. - In the second stage, decision-maker chooses from the remaining options, based on both rational and cognitive preferences
Cross-cultural Differences Cultural background often influences decision-making, and may do so in politics as well. Frequent explanations: - Co-evolution of Genes + Culture - Cultural Determination - Social Orientation Different cultures have different attitudes to: - Collectivism vs. individualism - Time pressure - Extensive thinking vs. deciding quickly - More follow authoritative persons vs. Deciding invididually - Pride vs. rational calculations
An Example: Time Pressure Cultural background often influences decision-making. Source: Wikipedia
Part II: The Culture of Secrecy in Foreign Policy Decision- Making
Level of Classification Different countries, different classifications. US Classification: 1.Unclassified 2.Unclassified / for official use only/ 3. Confidential 4. Confidential noforn 5. Secret 6. Secret noforn NATO Classification: 1.NATO Restricted 2. NATO Confidential 3. NATO Secret 4. Cosmic Top Secret Russian Federation 1. Для Служебного Пользования 2. Секретно 3. Совершенно секретно 4. Особой важности
External Threat Model External Threat Model: (by David Gibbs, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 32, no. 2, 1995, pp. 213-228.) - to protect government information from external adversaries, - secrecy is against foreign governments, not against the public - deception of the public is just a side-effect - secrecy is limited in time: de-classification will come after a certain period.
Bureaucratic Politics Model - Foreign policy actor are not unified, and not purely rational - Policy is de facto done by bureaucratic procedures -Secrecy is a routine procedure in many governmental agencies: institutional routine, intention to protect the source, etc. -Irrationality of operating bureacracies often result in random classification. There is little systematic withholding. - Agencies are often competing with each other, officials may try to deceive each other, etc. -Information that support more particular than national interests are to be hidden.
Internal Threat Approach I. Typical for the realist theory. - Government officials refer to secrecy in order to protect national security interests. - Government officials use secrecy to mislead the public and keep up the elite control over foreign policy -Requirements of good foreign policy often contradict public expectations (foreign aid – „Why to spend our money abroad?”) -Certain information ARE TO BE withheld from the public: secrecy is an obvious tool. -Secrecy may be used also to actively mislead the public
Internal Threat Approach II. Typical for the critiques of the realist theory. - Government officials use not to protect national security, but their own particular political interests. -Well-researched trend is that governmental officials often consider their own interests as well. -Rational officials may release information selectively: release the ones positive about them, and withhold the negative ones Obvious conflict (in most cases…) with the interests of the public (the taxpayers), but government officials have the control.
Level of Secrecy – Better Chance of Being Heard? Reporting diplomats are interested in being read and heard by the decision-makers. Experience shows that reports with a higher level of secrecy tend to be read on the higher levels. Result is that diplomats tend to over-classify their reports
Limited Access Limits Processing Higher level of confidentiality limits, how many people can get access to the information This limits processing capability as well. Besides, information of lower classification are often under- estimated.
Foreign Policy Elite Main groups: - Administrative elite (including diplomats) - Political elite (- Public opinion shapers interested in foreign policy)
Administrative elite -Closed group: expertise and language skills required - Share many common interests (towards the outside world), despite internal political differences -Frequent rotation between administrative positions at home and diplomatic postings abroad -Often well connected with foreign administrations - For advisors and analysts it is easy to work with them, as they’re ‘insiders’ – no need for much introduction, etc. A lot can be learned from them. - Possible problem: ‘ambassadoritis’: too much self-confidence + experience is de facto NOT universal!
Political elite - Partly recruited from the administrative elite: nothing new… easy -Partly newcomers: Newly appointed members of old institutions: Foreign Policy Committee of the Parliament, etc.: often limited background knowledge, but strong legitimacy and unlimited access. Must not be underestimated. (People long holding such posts acquire considerable experience and routine…) Unexperienced people receiving foreign policy-related posts: often lack of routine, lack of contacts, earlier only domestic focus, etc. Often prefer to decide along domestic political interests instead of wider foreign policy interests: re-election chances!!!
Political elite Sometimes very young people make it very high: automatic lack of experience + unlimited self-confidence…. It is hard to work with them, patience and diplomatic skills are needed. Useful is trying to carefully ‘build up’ our boss: politely recommend him readers, help to present his views, etc.
If you make it there… - Position itself does not give IQ - Always have such advisors, who know the business, whom you trust and who dare to tell you if make a mistake - Don’t mix up compulsory protocol with real respect - Think about your post-political future as well: never make your adversaries to be your enemies -Corruption in foreign policy may easily be handled as treason, particulary if your political opponents come to power… -In the long run only intact, only coherent personalities are able to work well: importance of family ties and physical health
Thank you very much for your attention! Tallinn, 10-14 February 2014. András Rácz Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org