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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: June 2012

10 - Summary and directions for the future


We have covered a vast terrain in the preceding chapters, addressing descriptive and prescriptive issues in decision making from the individual, group, organizational, and societal perspectives. Even though our examination at these four levels entails considerable complexity and scope, it hardly does justice to the real world. Decision problems are seldom just individual, group, or purely organizational. Nearly all of them are nested in a broader societal or social context and are often connected with related individual or group decisions. As such, our disembodied treatment chapter by chapter and our division of topics into eight cells (see Figure 1.1) is probably too neat and clinical.

In this epilogue, we wish to remind the reader of the broad scope and promise of decision sciences. The field has grown enormously over the last two decades. Numerous decision research groups and centers are thriving in leading business schools, social science departments such as psychology, and schools of engineering. The field is extending into medicine, law, and public policy. Several new scientific journals have been added in recent years (such as the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and the Journal of Medical Decision Making). This is not surprising, given the pervasiveness of problem solving and decision making as a human activity. It reaffirms the importance that researchers and practitioners place on analyzing decision making in a scientific manner rather than relying simply on our intuition.