Carnegie Decision Model

Posted on May 15 2009

The Cyert-March-Simon model (aka Carnegie Decision Model) was developed by Richard Cyert, James March, and Herbert Simon, originally at Carnegie-Mellon University.

The Carnegie Mellon University Model of Decision Making is a model of decision satisficing. It is a model of bounded rationality approach at an individual level.

The Carnegie Decision Model emphasizes bounded rationality (limited time & mental capacity of people resources, limited information & resources, so a rational solution often cannot be derived.)

There is often disagreement among managers about goals, so decision making often requires that groups are formed based on people who agree on goals and priorities. This model emphasizes the political process involved in decision making.

Those responsible tend to look for a quick solution in the immediate, local environment, rather than trying to develop the optimal solution. The solution chosen is said to “satisfice” (satisfy + suffice) rather than optimize.

Bounded rationality in this model involve two sets of constraints – uncertainty and conflict. There is uncertainty in the value of information, as it is limited and the various players have many constraints. There is conflict between the player’s goals, opinions, values and experience.

The decision is tossed out to a group, where joint discussions are held to interpret goals and problems. Opinions are shared, and decision priorities are set. Social support for the decision is the primary goal.

Alternatives for the decision are made by simple search, using established processes or solutions where possible. The group adopts the first alternative that is acceptable, or satisfices the Group until they reach Consensus Decision Making

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