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The Politics of Working Life$
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Paul Edwards and Judy Wajcman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199271900

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271900.001.0001

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Is Decision-making a Rational Process?

Is Decision-making a Rational Process?

(p.173) 8 Is Decision-making a Rational Process?
The Politics of Working Life

Paul Edwards

Judy Wajcman

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the processes of social group behaviour, which are often analysed through a social psychological perspective that tends to see organizations as having shared purposes or as having ‘politics’ of a relatively minor kind. This perspective is then placed in a wider critical analysis of the politics of organizations. It is useful to take as examples cases where things go wrong. However, many of the same processes underlie ‘success’ as well as ‘failure’. There is a need to grasp how failure occurs but then aim to identify what is generic in the politics of organizations and what is particular to failure. With this approach in place, one can then ask how organizations might learn from experiences of success and failure and what organizational learning might mean. The concept of groupthink is also discussed, along with decision-making as a rational process, escalation as group psychology, escalation as a failure of rationality, and persistence.

Keywords:   social group behaviour, organizations, failure, success, organizational learning, escalation, decision-making, rationality, groupthink, group psychology

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