1. Read up on the following famous decisions

  • Sony’s decision to develop, produce and market the Walkman
  • President Kennedy’s decision to blockade Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962
  • Treasury Secretary Paulson’s decision to launch the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the Fall of 2008

(1-2 pages total)


  1. Identify the key players in the social space for each decision—include stakeholders, decision makers and implementers, the public and external forces.
  2. Identify the perspectives and roles of each player (or set of players).


2. Consider a decision of consequence you have been involved with sometime in the past year or two. (1-2 pages total)


  1. Provide background on the rationale for the decision, i.e., What problem did the decision address? Who were its principal champions?
  2. Identify the key decision makers. How diverse were their views on the issues covered by the decision? Once the decision was made, how much support did it receive from the decision making “team”?
  3. How smooth was the transition from the decision making phase to the decision implementation phase? To what extent did the implementers fully understand their charge? To what extend did the implementers support or resist the underlying decision as handed to them by the decision makers? How good a job did the implementers do in implementing the decision handed to them by the decision makers?



3. Identify a non-trivial decision you worked on recently involving more than two people. (1-2 page total)


  1. Who were the players in the decision’s social space?
  2. What were the particular perspectives each held regarding the decision?
  3. To what extent were there overlaps in their perspectives? Conflict?
  4. In making the decision, how were the players’ multiple perspectives reconciled?
  5. At the end of the decision process, were there clearly identified “winners” and “losers”? Explain.


4. The United States Supreme Court is comprised of nine justices, each assuming his/her lifetime position by means of a Presidential appointment. While the justices pledge to resolve legal issues on their merits, guided by the precepts of the US Constitution, it is clear that their judgments are heavily colored by their personal, social, political and religious perspectives. This becomes quite clear when they make judgments on so-called social issues.

Framing Decisions states that a review of the workings of the Supreme Court in its decision making capacity—i.e., in rendering judgments on the Constitutionality of laws and behaviors—shows that determining whether decision processes and outcomes are rational doesn’t make sense when dealing with decisions made by collective bodies that wrestle with decisions of consequence. (1-2 pages total)


  1. Provide an argument that supports the Framing Decisions perspective.
  2. Provide an argument that refutes the Framing Decisions perspective.
  3. Framing Decisions suggests that when dealing with fairly trivial decisions made by individuals, the rationality of a decision process and its outcome is fairly easy to determine. What is the rationale of this assertion? Do you agree with it? Explain.
  4. Framing Decisions suggests that when dealing with decisions of consequence that have objectively verifiable correct answers, we can determine whether the decision process and its outcome are rational. What is the rationale of this assertion? Do you agree with it? Explain.