Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module BUSI41615: Management Decision Making

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI41615: Management Decision Making

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap
Tied to N1K607
Tied to N1K807


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • to give students an in-depth understanding at an advanced level of the complexities of decision making, and how decisions can be improved by specialist techniques such as decision analysis and scenario thinking;
  • to enable students to evaluate critically both the quality of management judgement and the assumptions underlying decision aiding techniques.


  • How people choose between alternatives;
  • Improving choice using multi-attribute value analysis techniques;
  • Psychological pitfalls in choice such as overconfidence, escalation of commitment, and shift-to-risk in decision making;
  • Decision analysis - methods and techniques for making decisions that involve uncertainties;
  • Scenario planning – the process of analysing possible future events by considering alternative possible outcomes;
  • Scenario planning versus decision analysis – creativity and the framing of decisions;
  • Decision making in management teams - pitfalls and remedies;
  • Decision architecture and other emerging techniques.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, student should have:
  • a specialist knowledge of how individuals and management teams make decisions and the potential pitfalls they face;
  • a critical appreciation of the assumptions, implications, and limitations of decision analysis and other systems designed to support and aid judgement and decision making.
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:
      Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy (specialist software packages will be demonstrated and students will use them for assignments).

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Through a combination of lectures, seminars and guided reading addressing key topics in management decision making, students will acquire the advanced skills and knowledge to enable them to develop a thorough understanding of this specialist field of study.
    • The summative assignment will test students' ability to apply the techniques they have learned to the analysis of a particular problem.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 9 Weekly 2 hours 18
    Seminars 4 fortnightly 1 hour 4
    Preparation & Reading 128
    Total 150

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Written Assignment 2,500 words (maximum) 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Pre-assigned questions for seminars; group presentations; case studies discussed in seminars.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University