INFO ABOUT THE COURSE
The course provides an introduction to decision making, both normative and descriptive. Among the primary purposes, the course is intended to provide a set of basic tools that help the student solve decision problems through quantitative models and translate qualitative uncertainty into numbers. A substantial amount of the course deals with normative decision theory, i.e. the study of how to make rational decisions, but the last part deals also with descriptive decision making, i.e. the study of how actually humans make decisions. Examples are used heavily.
The course is divided in 3 units (Individual Decision Theory; Game theory and Social Decision Theory; Descriptive Decision Theory) and worths 6 CFU, which means that an average student is expected to require 150 hours of work to complete and pass the course.
OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE
- Knowledge and understanding: Know and understand the most common decision analysis techniques for rational decision making, with and without uncertainty and risk, for individuals and groups; furthermore, know and understand main heuristics and fallacies in decision-making.
- Applying knowledge and understanding: Ability to analyze and solve decision problems under certainty, uncertainty and risk, with one or more attributes; ability to think strategically in competitive scenarios.
- Making judgements: Increase critical thinking skills and autonomy in reasoning, and in problem solving decisions.
- Communication: Ability to communicate clearly rational elements and empirical aspects that characterize decisions, either to an expert or to a non-expert audience.
- Learning skills: Ability to learn further strategies, theories and models of decision making.
PREREQUISITE AND PREPARATORY
- Prerequisite: No philosophical prerequisites are required. No mathematical prerequisites are necessary beyond high school algebra and arithmetic. It is required only some familiarity with basic inferences in propositional logic.
- Preparatory: None.
- Tuesday hour 10.30 - classroom 5
- Thursday hour 10.30 - classroom 5
An Introduction to Decision Theory
- Author: M. Peterson
- Edition: Cambridge University Press, 2009, Cambridge
- chapters: all, except 9.
Decision Analysis for Management Judgment (3rd ed.)
- Author: P. Goodwin, G. Wright
- Edition: John Wiley & Sons, 2004, New York
- chapters: 3, 5, 8, and 12
Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (7th ed.)
- Author: M.H. Bazerman, D.A. Moore
- Edition: John Wiley & Sons, 2009, New York
- chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (only the first paragraph) and 11
- Notes on Basic Logic
- Notes on MAUT
Make Better Decisions (Article)
- Author: T. H. Davenport
- Review: Harvard Business Review, November 2009
- Online: follow this link
The Evolution of Decision Making: How Leading Organizations Are Adopting a Data-Driven Culture (Survey)
- Author: HBR Analytic Services
- Online: follow this link
Predictably Irrational (Book)
- Author: D. Ariely
- Edition: Harper Collins, 2008, New York
Smart Choices (Book)
- Author: J.S. Hammond, R.L. Keeney, H. Raiffa
- Edition: Harvard Business School Press, 1999, Boston
Two intermediate written exams are planned: the first at the end of Unit 1, the second at the end of Unit 3.
Homeworks are scheduled and each student, individually or in couple, must work on a more complex project and present it at the end of the course.
The course is graded on the basis of practical assignments and written exams. The student is expected to have knowledge of, insight in, and, most importantly, understanding of the different course subjects. This also means that the student have practiced with applying different methods and procedures and can correctly do so in little time. Active participation is also taken into account.
During the Course semester office hours are: Wednesday, from 3.30 to 5.30 pm. Anyway, you should feel free to come by my office at any time. I have, either with an appointment or without. I spend most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday in and around my office, so your chances of finding me on one of those days should be reasonably high; and although in some cases I may have to ask you to come back at another time, in general I will be happy to speak to you at your convenience.
At the end of the semester office hours are: Wednesday, from 3.30 to 4.30 pm, or by appointment. Please, send me an email to arrange a time.
Students not attending at least 80% of the lessons are considered "non-attending students" for this course.
The examination of non-attending students consists of:
- a compulsory written exam covering the entire course's material (theory and exercises)
- an analysis of a multi-criteria decision problem, to be handed in and presented the same day
- an oral exam concerning the entire course's material and the project presented.