chapter  11
12 Pages

Creating Environments for Better Decision-making

The key to understanding decision-making practices is sensemaking, a perspective which highlights the role of identity construction in decision-making – the differing contributions and potential tensions between the identity of the operational managers as employees and their identity as professionals. Consistent decision-making is supported by a shared understanding of what constitutes 'unsafe' in the sense of the operating envelope of the system. The logical way to acknowledge the place of judgement and experience in operational decision-making is in the form of process rules for decision-making. The decision-making process defined at the chemical plant was not accepted by the operational managers, because it makes no allowance for the role of experience and judgement. The fact that operational managers act as professionals as well as from their identity as employees should matter to organizations seeking excellent safety performance. Operational managers can sometimes put themselves under pressure as a result of their primary task – producing electricity, making plastic or moving aircraft.