Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Seminar by Prof Graham Brewer, Executive Director - CIFAL Newcastle, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, UoN

The Cognitive Research Group is proud to host a talk by Prof Graham Brewer, Executive Director, CIFAL Newcastle, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of Newcastle. 

The CIFAL Global Network is part of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. The acronym CIFAL stands for "International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders". To read more about CIFAL Newcastle click here

WHEN: Thursday 21 September, 12-1pm.

WHERE: Keats reading room, AVLG17. VC link to Ourimbah available on request.

TITLE: Exploring institutional decision-making: phenomenological investigation of the bounded rationalist.

ABSTRACT: The success or failure of projects conducted in the built environment depend to a greater or lesser extent upon the quality of decisions taken at significant points in the project life-cycle, their significance often only becoming apparent upon reflection. Traditional economic theory tells us that the rationalist decision-maker – Homo economicus – always makes decisions based upon optimisation of outcomes, whereas the more recent science of behavioural economics indicates that most human decision-makers are boundedly rational, making "satisficing" decisions. It is clear that Homo sapiens decision-makers, whilst aware of the need for rational data collection and analysis followed by unbiased choice selection, usually make decisions for boundedly rational reasons. The results are often "good enough" to ensure that project stakeholders are content. Nevertheless, in an industry known for small profit margins and low levels of innovation, an understanding of the influences on strategic decision-makers is instructive when considering the promotion of new technologies or processes. Whilst the decision-making process cannot ultimately be observed directly it can be understood indirectly through the lived experience of those making the decisions, those affected by their decisions, and the eventual performance of the project itself. This can be achieved by a rigourous, multi-perspective phenomenological enquiry. Such approaches can be valuable in other domains such as policy effectiveness.

Prof Graham Brewer (left), in the United Nations' conference in Ecuador