University of Technology Sydney

21953 Decision Making Under Uncertainty

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 3 cp

Subject level:

Postgraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject introduces students to diverse ways of assisting people to make decisions in organisational settings. The key themes of uncertainty and ambiguity are emphasised in all stages of the decision-making process, right from identifying stakeholder needs and acquiring relevant data through to supporting decision making and influencing stakeholder behaviours. Using both a hard and soft systems thinking approaches, the subject explores various decision analysis methods and discusses the practical challenges to rational decision making. Most importantly, the subject helps students develop an understanding of the different types of decision problems they are likely to encounter in their professional lives and the diverse approaches that can be used to tackle them.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. identify different types of uncertainty in real-life decision settings
2. demonstrate an understanding of the difference between uncertainty and ambiguity and how it affects decision-making in organisations
3. select and apply the appropriate decision-making techniques

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following program learning objectives:

  • Apply and evaluate problem solving strategies to deliver business value (2.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject introduces students to diverse ways of making decisions in uncertain and ambiguous organisational settings. Using both a hard and soft systems thinking approaches, the subject explores various decision analysis methods and discusses the practical challenges to rational decision making. It prepares students for working with multiple stakeholders.

This subject develops the following Program Learning Objectives:

3.2 Acquire knowledge of different stakeholder perspectives

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • GA2. Critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills – be able to apply and demonstrate critical and analytical skills, and innovation in business practice.
  • GA3. Communication and Interpersonal skills – be able to use communication skills effectively to work with others.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject combines blended and experiential learning approaches. It focuses on in-depth understanding and application of key decision-making techniques in real-world scenarios. It is also practice-oriented (in both in-class exercises and assignments). Online materials and activities will be provided via the learning management system.

Content (topics)

  1. Understanding uncertainty and ambiguity in business
  2. Decision making under uncertainty
  3. Sensemaking and the art of decision making in ambiguous situations
  4. Critical analysis of stakeholder perspectives.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Report: Monte Carlo Simulation exercise

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

This addresses program learning objectives(s):

2.2

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

Assessment task 2: Sense making exercise

Intent:

This develops Program Learning Objective/s – 3.2

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks and complete all assessments.

Required texts

No specific textbook. A range of resources will be compiled including academic and non-academic publications, Lynda.com courses, TED talks, documentaries, movies, podcasts etc.

References

Ariely, D. (2008). Predictably irrational. New York: HarperCollins.

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

Silver, N. (2012). The signal and the noise: Why so many predictions fail-but some don't. Penguin.

Culmsee, P., & Awati, K. (2013). The Heretic's Guide to Best Practices: The Reality of Managing Complex Problems in Organisations. iUniverse.

Culmsee, P. and Awati, K. (2016). The Heretic's Guide to Management: The Art of Harnessing Ambiguity, Heretics Guide Press.