chapter  3
19 Pages

Cognitive Process Approaches to Decision-Making: Foreign Policy Actors Viewed Psychologically [1976]

Decision-making analysis in political science, especially its foreign policy component, has o en been dominated by approaches that conceptualize the acting unit as a “unitary rational actor,” but many of the more interesting studies of the past few years have pointed to several limitations and inadequacies of such models. Norms and interactions within the decision-making group may serve certain needs (emotional support, feelings of solidarity, and the like) of group members. However, group dynamics may also have some dysfunctional consequences for the quality of decisions by inhibiting search or cutting it o prematurely, ruling out the legitimacy of some options, curtailing independent analysis, and suppressing some forms of intragroup con ict that might serve to clarify goals, values, and options. Organizational norms, routines, and standard operating procedures may shape and perhaps distort the structuring of problems, channeling of information, utilization of expertise, and implementation of executive decisions. e consequences of bureaucratic politics may signi cantly constrain the manner in which issues are de ned, the range of options that may be considered, and the manner in which executive decisions are implemented by subordinates.