Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cognitive Heuristics and Judgment​ ​in Managerial Decision Making

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION Students will be introduced to the anatomy of decisions in organizational contexts and provided with a thorough understanding of the phenomenon of 'overconfidence' including over-precision, over-estimation and over-placement. The unit will examine the various cognitive biases relevant to managerial decision making and discuss topics like 'bounded awareness and illusions' and 'framing and reversal of preferences'. The study-unit shall also discuss the motivational and emotional influences on decision-making and focus on aspects of commitment to action, fairness and ethics in decision-making and common investment mistakes. It shall discuss thoroughly the psychology of risk and risk perception and link it to error-making in decision making especially under conditions of stress. The study-unit will also highlight aspects of negotiation and draw guidelines on improving decision-making in a managerial context.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit has the following 4 aims:
- First, to provide a critical and thorough comprehension of the psychology of decision-making and errors associated to decision-making;
- Second, to illustrate both internal and external factors that can shift the direction of a decision in exceptional circumstances like stress;
- Third, to highlight the relationship between the allowance of cognitive biases and risk propensity;
- Fourth, to explore ways to mitigate the probability of false decision-making processes and heuristics.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Provide understanding of the decision-making process;
- Describe and discuss different types of cognitive biases and heuristics;
- Indicate situations that exacerbate the propensity of making errors in decision-making;
- Show a critical awareness of the risk factor in the general decision-making phenomenon.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Evaluate possible strategies to minimize the occurrence of cognitive biases;
- Draw up a plan to mitigate against risk in decision-making within an organizational context;
- Reflect upon specific behaviours that improve the chances of decision-making under complex situations;
- Illustrate several examples of the applicability of the theory of cognitive biases and judgment in managerial decision-making.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:

Bazerman, M. H. & Moore, D. A. (2013). Judgment in Managerial decision-making (8th Ed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Supplementary Readings:

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. UK: Penguin Books.

Slovic, P. (2000). The perception of risk. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Stanovich, K. E. (2011). Rationality and the reflective mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Students will also be provided with a number of papers to read which will be made available on VLE.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Vincent Cassar

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2018/9, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.