Decision Making: Fast, Frugal, Effective


Special Edition of Journal of Business Research, Edited by Gerd Gigerenzer and Shabnam Mousavi; Deadline 25 May 2010

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Call for Papers:

Special Edition of the Journal of Business Research on Decision Making: Fast, Frugal, Effective

Paper submission deadline is 25 May 2010

This volume focuses on how decisions occur in the world of business when optimization is out of reach. Beyond what L. J. Savage called “small worlds,” optimization is rarely feasible, and attempts can even be “sub-optimal” if assumptions do not hold or parameter estimates are noisy. What heuristics do managers and policy makers use to make decisions? In which business environments is a given heuristic likely to succeed or fail? For instance, studies indicate that managers often rely on one-good reason to make decisions, ignoring other relevant information, and that such a simple heuristic can outperform complex statistical prediction models. Besides the analysis of the decision processes, a second focus is on how the social environment effects the use of heuristic. Business leaders sometimes do not admit heuristic decisions, but feel that they have to rationalize post hoc. Family businesses are more relaxed about gut decisions (such as the unconscious use of heuristics), while executives who must report to superiors often lean towards defensive decision-making, that is, choosing an action that is not the best for the firm but a decision that is easy to legitimize or where the executives feel highly protected if something goes wrong.

The theoretical issues on which this JBR Special Edition centers are models of heuristics (the analysis of the “adaptive toolbox”), the structure of environments/institutions in which a heuristic succeeds (the analysis of their “ecological rationality”), and situations in which less information, computation, and time can lead to better decisions (the study of “less-is-more effects”). The focus is on decisions under uncertainty, rather than in “small worlds” where all probabilities and consequences are known with certainty.

For this special issue of the Journal of Business Research, we invite contributions from scholars in every field of business and beyond, whose research is useful for and accessible to a general business audience in addressing one or more of the following topics:

  • Decision making in actual business situations
  • Models of heuristics underlying business decisions
  • Models of environments to which specific heuristics are adapted
  • When is less information, time, and computation better? When is the opposite true?
  • What role do gut feelings and defensive decisions play in business?

Special editors of this volume are Gerd Gigerenzer and Shabnam Mousavi, Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin. Interested researchers are encouraged to submit their papers, and a cover letter that briefly clarifies the relevance of their work to the abovementioned topics. Please make submissions and address all inquiries to Shabnam Mousavi (

For further information concerning writing style, please download the format guidelines, which are available at the end of the page at