Making decisions during a pandemic

Prof. Mark Fenton-O’Creevy has been studying how high impact decisions get made in the face of uncertainty for nearly thirty years.

In this blog, he draws on this research and work with a national research network to consider decision-making during the Covid-19 crisis. He discusses the role of stories and emotions in how we think and what happens “when events no longer seem to fit the frames, categories and tools we have to understand them, as in the current pandemic”.

He argues that uncertainty is an emotional as well as a cognitive challenge and emphasises the importance of staying comfortable with ambivalence, doubt and not knowing to avoid decision traps.

Read more in Mark’s blog

Mark Fenton-O’Creevy is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at The Open University Business School. Mark’s research interests include Decision-Making, Radical Uncertainty, International Management, International HR, Financial Trading, Investment Psychology, Psychology of Financial Behaviour and Practice-Based Learning.

2 thoughts on “Making decisions during a pandemic

  1. Very interesting, there is, however, one very practical issue. In the present crisis clean accurate data is not available to support the multiple “decision action cycles” (OODA Loops) in operation. Some decision action cycles can be once an hour. Additionally, I would argue the current decision making process is not designed to support multiple decision action cycles

    1. This is the constant problem in conditions of uncertainty – not only lack of information but problems with timliness and reliability of information. It is still nessecary to act, but the issue is whether we remain sufficiently open to being wrong.

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