This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

The course is designed to introduce students to different theories of individual and organizational decision making. Different methodological approaches to the study of decision making are also important parts of the course. The course will analyze decision making from cognitive perspectives, behavioral perspectives, decision making in groups and in organizations.

Learning outcome

After completing the course the students should:
  • have an advanced knowledge within the academic field and specialized insight on decision making
  • be able to evaluate the use of methods and processes in decision making research
  • be able to develop new knowledge, theories, methods and applications within the area of decision making

After completing the course the students should:
  • be able to formulate new research questions and plan and execute decision making research.
  • be able to conduct decision making research at an international level
  • be able to handle complex academic questions and challenge existing knowledge within decision making

General skills:
After completing the course the students should:
  • be able to identify new ethical dilemmas related to the consequences of decisions and decision research
  • be able to communicate extensive independent work and master the language and terminology of the academic field
  • should be able to communicate about academic issues, analyses and conclusions in the field, both with specialists and the general public
  • be able to contribute to new thinking and innovation processes


The course provides the students with a detailed knowledge on the most common theories on decision making from a number of theoretical points of departure. The concept of rationality is discussed as a starting point for the study of decisions. However, as both behavioral decision making and behavioral economics largely studies deviations from rationality, the course will emphasize this part of the decision making domain as well.
The course will also address methodological issues related to research on judgment and decision making. Moreover, the impact of information load, time constraints and emotions/mood on decision outcome will be discussed. Methods of improving decision making based on scientific principles and findings will be part of this discussion. We will also discuss methodologies that are used in research on decision making, and how to design and conduct research in this area. Topics typically covered include
  • the assumptions of rationality and rational decision models
  • alternatives to rational decision making
  • information processing and cognitive load
  • high and low effort processing and decision making
  • the effect of time in judgment and decision making
  • mood and emotions
  • decision rules, heuristics and biases.
  • Choice architecture
  • Organizational decision models

Required prerequisite knowledge

Participants must be enrolled in a PhD programme.

Recommended previous knowledge



Weight Duration Marks Aid
Term paper - appr. 15 pages1/1 Pass - Fail
Term paper - appr. 15 pages. Marks: Pass – Fail.

Coursework requirements

Active class room participation.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Håvard Hansen

Method of work

A combination of lectures, article presentations made by students, and classroom discussions.

Open to

PhD candidates enrolled in PhD programmes at the University of Stavanger or accredited universities/university colleges in Norway or abroad.

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be conducted according to the regulations set forth by the Faculty of Social sciences.


Katona, George (1953), “Rational Behavior and Economic Behavior,” Psychological Review, 60 (5), 307-318
Harrison, E.F. (1999), The managerial decision making process, 5th ed, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, NY. “Rational decision making”, (chapter 2-3)
Simon, Herbert A. (1952), “A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 69, 99-118.
Presentation paper: Messner, Claude and Michaela Wänke (2011), “Unconscious information processing reduces information overload and increases product satisfaction”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 9-13.
Other reading: Olshavsky, Richard W. and Donald H. Granbois (1979), “Consumer Decision Making: Fact or Fiction?,” Journal of Consumer Research, 6 (September), 93-100.
Shugan, Steven M. (1980), “The Cost of Thinking,” Journal of Consumer Research,7 (September), 99-111.
Jacoby, Jacob (1984), “Perspectives on Information Overload”, Journal of Consumer Research, 10 (March), 432-435
Malhotra, Naresh K. (1984), “Reflections on the information overload paradigm in Consumer Decision Making,” Journal of Consumer Research, 10 (March), 436-440.
Malhotra, Naresh K. (1984), “Information and sensory overload: Information and sensory overload in psychology and marketing”, Psychology and Marketing, 1 (3/4), 9-21.
Presentation paper: Nedungadi, Prakash (1990), ”Recall and consumer considerations set: Influencing
choice without altering brand evaluations,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17 (3): 263-275.
Other reading: Alba, Josepth W., J. Wesley Hutchinson and John G. Lynch, Jr. (1991), “Memory and Decision Making,” in Handbook of Consumer Behavior, Harold H. Kassarjian and Thomas R. Robertson (eds). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1- 49.
Lynch, John G. Jr. and Thomas K. Srull (1982), “Memory and Attentional Factors in Consumer Choice: Concepts and Research Methods,” Journal of Consumer Research, 9 (June), 18-37.
Dick, Alan, Dipankar Chakravarti and Gabriel Biehal (1990), “Memory-Based Inferences During Consumer Choice,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17 (June), 82-93.
Park, C. Whan and Daniel C. Smith (1989), “Product-Level Choice: A Top-Down or Bottom-Up Process?”, Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (December), 289-299.
Presentation paper: Mochon, Daniel (2013), “Single option aversion”, Journal of Consumer Research,40 (October), 555-566
Other reading: Huber, J., Payne, J.W. and Puto, C. (1982): Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis, Journal of Consumer Research, 9 (1), 90-98.
Nakamoto, Kent (1987), “Alternatives to information processing in consumer research: New perspectives on old controversies,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 4, 11-27.
Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1974): Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, Science, 185, 1124-1131.
Presentation paper: Dhar, Ravi and Steven M. Nowlis (1999), “The Effect of Time Pressure on Consumer Choice Deferral,” Journal of Consumer Research, 25 (March), 369-384.
Other reading: Petty, R. E., Schuman, D. W., Richman, S. A., and Stratham, A. J. (1993): Positive
Mood and Persuasion: Different Roles for Affect Under High- and Low- Elaboration Conditions, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64 (1), 5- 20.
Mohanty, Sachan Nandan and Damodar Suar (2014), “Decision making under uncertainty and information processing in positive and negative mood states”, Psychological Reports: Employment psychology and marketing, 115 (1), 91-105.
Ariely, D. and Loewenstein, G. (2006): The Heat of the Moment: The Effect of Sexual Arousal on Sexual Decision Making, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19, 87-98.
Presentation paper: Mogilner, C., Rudnik, T. and Iyengar, S.S (2008): The mere categorization effect:
How the presence of categories increases choosers perceptions of assortment variety and outcome satisfaction, Journal of Consumer Research, 25 (August), 202-215.
Other reading: Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sunstein (2009), Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, Penguin Books,London, UK. Chapter 5 – choice architecture.
Markus, H.R. and Schwartz, B. (2010): Does Choice Mean Freedom and Well- Being?, Journal of Consumer Research, 37 (August), 344-355
Scheibehenne, B., Greifeneder, R. and Todd, P.M. (2010): Can there ever be too many options? A meta-analytic review of choice overload, Journal of Consumer Research, 37 (October),
Presentation paper: Harrison, E.F. (1999), The managerial decision making process, 5th ed, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, NY. “Rational decision making”, (chapter 7: The sociology of decision making)
Other reading: Harrison, E.F. (1999), The managerial decision making process, 5th ed Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, NY. “Rational decision making”, (chapter 8: The social psychology of decision making) Presentation paper: Nijstad, B.A., Stroebe, W. and Lodewijkx, H.F.M. (2006), "The illusion of group productivity: A reduction failures explanation", European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 31-48.
Other reading: Mannes, A. E., Soll J.B. and Larrick, R.P. (2014), "The wisdom of select crowds",
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107 (2), 276-299.
Mojzisch, A., Faulmuller, N., Kerschreiter, R., Vogelgesang, F. and Schulz-Hardt, S. (2014), The consistency principle in interpersonal communication: Consequences for preference confirmation in collective decision making", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106 (6), 961-977.
Bäck, E.A., Esaiasson, P., Gilljam, M., Svenson, O. and Lindholm, T. (2011), "Postdecision consolidation in large group decision-making", Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52, 320-328.
Paper presentation: Schweiger, D.M., Sanberg, W.R. and Ragan, J.W. (1986), "Group approaches for improving strategic decision making: A comparative analysis of dialectical inquiry, devil's advocacy, and concensus", Academy of Management Journal, 29 (1), 51- 71.
Other reading: Schweiger, D.M., Sanberg, W.R. and Rechner, P.L. (1989), Experiential effects of dialectical inquiry, devil's advocacy and consensus approaches to strategic decision making, Academy of Management Journal, 32 (4), 745-772 Erffmeyer, R.F. and Lane, I.M. (1984), "Quality and acceptance of an evaluative task: The effects of four group decision making processes", Group & Organization Studies, 9 (4), 509-529
Paper presentation : Burtscher, M.J. and Meyer, B. (2014), "Promoting good decisions: How regulatory focus affects group information processing and decision-making", Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 17 (5), 663-681.
Other reading: Scheepers, D., Ellemers, N. and Sassenberg, K. (2013), "Power in contexts: The influence of promotion and prevention decision making", British Journal of Social Psychology, 52, 238-254.
Maitlis, S. and Ozcelik, H. (2004), "Toxic decision processes: A study of emotion and organizational decision making, Organization science, 15 (4), 375-393.
Flynn, F.J. and Wiltermuth, S.S. (2010), "Who's with me? False concencus, brokerage, and ethical decision making in organizations", Academy of Management Journal, 53 (5), 1074-1089.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 07.12.2019