Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography



Annotated Bibliography

Green, R. M. (1984). Neutral, omnipartial rule-making, in Green R. M., The Ethical Manager. Macmillan

The author discuses neutral, omnipartial rule-making (NORM), as a theoretical approach of moral choice. The approach incorporates ideas from utilitarian and deontological theories. The approach depends on societal thinking about morality. Moral decisions constitute what members in a society are willing to accept. The public is aware of the conduct and accepts it. However, the members of a society would not be willing to accept a decision they consider morally wrong. NORM differs from relativism in that all the members of the society have to agree that the conduct under question is moral and they all have to accept it. The people making the decision consider the issue in question in an omnipartial way, by considering the perspectives of all those who are involved. People making a moral decision have to formulate a moral rule that will be important in making their choices. They then have to place themselves in the situation of the others facing the same situation to see how their decision would apply.

The author notes that the approach does not depend on strict moral laws. The decision made will depend on the situation. NORM depends on moral common sense. It recognizes that any rules applied are contextual. He adds that the different methods used do not necessarily lead to the correct action. People have to be aware of the situation, determine the relevant details, and apply their own judgment when making decisions. They have to be aware of all the people who will be affected by the rule directly and indirectly. They have to consider the immediate effects of applying the rule and its impact in the future. Although the approach does have its limitations since human diversity means divergence of ideas, using omnipartial thinking will help to reduce the instances where individuals and the society cannot agree on an issue.


The discussion offered would be useful in business setting. The author discusses an ethical approach to making decisions many people struggle with moral dilemmas. The article explains a different approach other than just considering the consequences and making decisions based on who would derive the most pleasure. An instance where this would be applicable would be the case of a human resource manager who is being pushed by the manager to hire a candidate of his liking even though that person is not qualified and the others who have applied for the same position have the required qualification. The HR manager works in a private company, and he stands to lose his job if he does not do what the manager says. He has to form a moral rule that will help him make the decision with the understanding that the reasoning he uses can affect other people in his position.

Janis, L. I. (1971). Groupthink. Psychology Today, November

Janis discusses the concept of groupthink by explaining how it occurs, its symptoms, as well as its remedies. Janis defines groupthink as people’s mode of thinking when they become so engaged in seeking a consensus that they are willing to overlook other courses of action. Individuals succumb to group pressure as they strive to ensure that they maintain cohesiveness. Groupthink is characterized by declining mental efficiency, moral judgment, and examination of reality. The members decline from judging the ideas expressed by their leaders or other team members. Groups that are prone to group think are characterized by social conformity. Members of a group show their loyalty and commitment by observing the group policies irrespective of how ineffective they are. They are more concerned about their loyalty to the group to the extent that they are willing to ignore their conscience.

The author identifies the symptoms of groupthink. Invulnerability makes group members to become overoptimistic. They will rationalize the situation and this prevents them from making the right decision. They believe in their morality and they do not consider the unethical nature of their actions. The members also have stereotypical thinking that makes them undermine their rivals. They will pressure anyone who opposes them. Self-censorship ensures that those who have any misgivings do not voice their concerns. The consequences of these symptoms include consideration of few courses of action, failure to reexamine their decisions, failure to consider non-obvious gains that were overlooked, failure to consult experts, lack of objectivity when examining the facts, failure to foresee obstacles. Janis notes that to solve the problem of groupthink, leaders should encourage group members to air their objections, they should be impartial from the beginning, involve external participation and expert counsel, and give the members a chance to rethink their decisions before final implementation.


This reading would be appropriate in a work situation that involves working in teams. In some cases, organizations require workers from different departments or from the same unit to work together on a project. The members have to determine their leader and they have to determine the tasks that each person will have. They also have to observe deadlines. This increases the sense of urgency in completing the project. Working together and avoiding conflict will enable the team members to complete their projects early and they will be able to meet the deadline. Therefore, the members may mistakenly believe that avoiding any contradicting opinions will help them reach their goals more quickly. The article shows the importance of having different perspectives of an issue. It details how the team leader can act to ensure that the decisions of all the members are incorporated and considered during decision-making, while ensuring cohesiveness.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1983). Choices, values, and frames. American Psychologist, 39(4), 341-350

The authors discuss the cognitive and psychophysical factors that determine the worth of risky and riskless prospects. People make decisions knowingly and unknowingly. Making decisions involves using reason and logic as well as beliefs and preferences. People make risky choices when they have no prior knowledge of their consequences. Decisions are not risky if the person is already aware of the outcome. Such riskless decisions include engaging in trade. People will avoid making decisions if what they stand to lose is greater than what they will gain. They will opt for a sure gain instead of a positive gamble with a higher reward. The authors note that people become risk seeking when they deal with improbable gains, and they become risk averse when they are dealing with unlikely losses. The article offers a different perspective of looking at risks.

The authors note that the way one communicates the benefits and risks of something will determine the response he gets. For instance, when dealing with insurance, the offer will sound more appealing if the insurer communicates the elimination of risk rather than its reduction. This involves a change of language when communicating. The person making the offer has to structure it in a way that people will see what they stand to gain by accepting the offer, instead of seeing what they stand to lose. The authors observe that many problems when making decisions are a choice between retaining the status quo and accepting the alternative. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. People can frame problem using different perspectives and in different ways. When making decisions, people will often use mental accounting and this enables them to determine the results of their transactions. They will determine the option to take based on whether they consider it a cost or an uncompensated loss.


The discussion is informative as it explains the way people consider risk when making decisions. Many people in business, especially those in the financial sector, take risks all the time. They have to know whether taking a particular risk will benefit them in any way. This can be applied in an organization that deals with investments. People have to determine the risk of investing in a particular property or item. They have to weigh the value of what they stand to lose compared to the gains they will incur in the process. They determine the options to accept by weighing the value of their advantages over the value of their disadvantages. Sales personnel can benefit by knowing how to structure their communication when presenting their products for sale. This can also benefit marketers who have to make a sales pitch to attract investors.

Mitzberg, H., Waters, J., Pettigrew, M. A., & Butler, R. (1990). Studying deciding: An exchange of views between Mintzberg and Waters, Pettigrew, and Butler

Mintzberg and Waters discuss the topic of decision and they note that there may be more to it than many people know. They observe that it is an ambiguous concept although many people may not be aware of it. They intend to show how decision can get in the way. The article includes responses from two other scholars, who support their thinking, although they add their own sentiments on the issue. Decision is not just a commitment to action but precedes action, and it can happen even without commitment to act. At the same time, people act without necessarily having made the decision to do so. Many people think in the traditional sense that decision has to precede action. They employ a bureaucratic system whereby the administrator makes the decisions and then they are authorized and implemented. They note that in some cases, decisions can act as an impediment, and limit the understanding of behavior.

According to Pettigrew, focusing on decision-making leads to a preoccupation with the front-end decision and neglects the major implementation process, which includes choice and change process. The different understanding concerning decisions occur because scholars have different perspectives of what strategic decisions mean. He notes that another problem concerning decisions lie in their levels of analysis. There is a gap between statements of strategic intent and operational implementation. He argues that there is need to view decision making as a process. Butler agrees that decisions can sometimes stand in the way and that actions can precede decision. He further adds that decision-making process depends on the issue being considered. Many specialists tend to increase the complexity and uncertainty of a decision. This in turn increases political behavior within an organization. He adds that implementation of action does not necessarily have to depend on consensus.


The discussion is important in an organizational setting, especially in a business that focuses on strategic decision-making. The discussion by Mintzberg and Waters asks the readers to give space to different viewpoints concerning decision-making. Their arguments are a lesson for managers who are focused on strategic decision-making and on the bureaucratic process. It asks them to consider the fact that decisions can stand in the way. Some ideas are implemented even before decisions are made. A person can come up with an idea suddenly without having gone through the decision-making process. The organization can then decide to act on that idea. Some of the most successful ideas just emerge. It is important to give room for such ideas. Therefore, organizations need to be flexible in the way they handle decision-making. There is need to accommodate change because it happens all the time. Being rigid and failing to accommodate any changes may lead to failure.

Wildavsky, A., & Dake, K. (1990). Theories of risk perception: Who fears what and why? Daedulus, 119(4)

The authors intend to find more about risk in their discussion. They seek to examine why people have changed their stand on products that were previously thought to be safe. They seek to identify which people view technology as safe and who consider it dangerous. Moreover, they intend to find people’s differing perceptions concerning risk. They look at different risk theories and they judge the suitability of those theories based on their ability to predict and explain dangerous potential of hazards and the people who will perceive them as such. According to the knowledge theory or risk perception, people perceive something to be dangerous because they know that it is dangerous. Personality theory concerns the character of an individual. Some people are risk averse and they avoid as many risks as they can. Economic theory posits that those who are rich are more likely to take risks because they gain more benefits and they do not have to endure adverse consequences. Other theories explaining risk include post materialistic theory, political theory, and cultural theory.

Cultural theorists posit that people choose what to fear and how much to fear it. Different social groups perceive culture in diverse ways. Individualists support self-regulation and they are only concerned with social deviance if it interferes with their freedom and market relations. They will support any technology introduced to them and they consider any risks to be opportunities. Egalitarians justify the sharing of resources by asserting the fragility of nature. They will oppose technology because they consider it dangerous and unnecessary. Although hierarchists are willing to accept technology, they require the involvement of their experts and the application of rules and regulations governing its adoption. They scorn any deviant behavior and this differentiates them from individualists, who will permit anything for the sake of individual progress.


It is important to understand different classes of groups and identify their cultural alignment. In some cases, organizations have had numerous challenges trying to implement change and introduce technology. They have faced opposition and this has led to poor adaptation of the technology and mismanagement. For instance, understanding that egalitarians will oppose technology because they only see the perceived dangers and risks will enable the management to come up with a solution to solve the problem early. The discussion also highlights the importance of having regulations that govern the use of technology. It is important to have rules that establish the limits of technology use to prevent misuse. Some people will tend to politicize everything. Many organizations are aware that they work with different types of people. Understanding this will lead to the awareness and knowledge of the need for training as a way of avoiding conflict.  

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