Communications in theories of business decision making

An organization not only seeks information through search behavior, it  also processes information. In most theories of business decision making, communication effects are ignored. Prima facie this exclusion seems implausible. If, for example, pricing decisions are assumed to be based on expectations concerning future sales, costs, and competitors’ behavior, it is hard to see how we can ignore the process through which such information is communicated in the organization.

The classic solution has two characteristics: It eliminates any time delays implicit in a communication structure by essentially ignoring the time dimension, and  it eliminates any bias by assuming homogeneity of goals. It is possible that the time- delay problem may reasonably be assumed away in many circumstances, but unless our analysis of organizational goals is incorrect, we cannot dispose of bias problems by assuming goal homogeneity. Where different parts of the organization have responsibility for different pieces of information relevant to a decision, we would expect some bias in information transmitted due to perceptual differences among the subunits and some attempts to manipulate information as a device for manipulating the decision.

Basically, we need information on two points: we need (1) to examine the effect of differing goals on the estimations prepared by individual members of the organization, and (2) to consider the net organizational effect of an information system operating under partial conflict of interest.

Source: Skyttner Lars (2006), General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspectives, Practice, Wspc, 2nd Edition.

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