University of Technology Sydney

21953 Decision Making 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 2022 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 hard and soft systems thinking approaches, the subject explores quantitative and qualitative decision making 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. evaluate different types of uncertainty in real-life decision settings
2. analyse the difference between uncertainty and ambiguity and how it affects decision-making in organisations
3. perform quantitative estimates using Monte Carlo simulation
4. develop sensemaking skills to tackle complex decision scenarios

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 contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Intellectual rigour and innovative problem solving
  • Communication and collaboration

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is delivered through a mix of online learning, three live online webinars and online consultations. The subject features a mix of theoretical concepts and applications in the contemporary context that is designed to enhance knowledge and capabilities in business administration. Students have access to online resources, and self-directed learning activities and are expected to study online content provided via the UTS learning management system. They are required to complete online learning activities, which will help identify knowledge gaps and inform discussions. Webinars are designed to present the theory and practice of the subject’s content. Students are required to complete pre-work activities before attending webinars. Discussions focus on the application of concepts, techniques and tools. Ongoing general and individual feedback will be provided throughout the subject via consultation sessions. A summative assessment provides feedback on students' comprehension and application of learning. Students also receive formal feedback on assessment tasks.

Content (topics)

  • Understanding uncertainty and ambiguity in business
  • Decision making under uncertainty
  • Sensemaking and the art of decision making in ambiguous situations
  • Critical analysis of stakeholder perspectives

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Report: Monte Carlo Simulation exercise (Individual)

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

Weight: 50%
Criteria:
  • Application of complex business concepts
  • Analysis of complex issue(s) taking account of influencing factors, supporting data/evidence and different perspectives
  • Identification of limitations and contradictions (in data, practices, assumptions)
  • Information is communicated effectively for specific audience

Assessment task 2: Sense making exercise (Individual)

Intent:

This develops Program Learning Objective/s – 3.2

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 50%
Criteria:
  • Analysis of complex issue(s) taking account of influencing factors, supporting data/evidence and different perspectives
  • Application of advanced critical and creative thinking in solution development
  • Development of realistic and achievable strategies/course of action
  • Identification of limitations and contradictions (in data, practices, assumptions)
  • Information is communicated effectively for specific audience

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.

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.