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Behavioural and Analytical Decision Making


Admission requirements



Decision making is a critical determinant of organizational effectiveness whether we are discussing a football team, an army, a street gang or a multinational corporation. Decision making has a long and distinguished scientific tradition. Much of the academic research into decision making covers processes of the individual. However, organizational decision making obviously is not purely an individual process. Group dynamics, interpersonal hierarchy, and management structures impact organizational decision making. As a result, making effective decisions is as much an art as it is a science. It entails insight into human psychology, group interaction, and the dynamics of organizational goals. This course will touch upon these subjects to help you understand the mechanics of decision making as an individual, in a group, and in an organization. Group assignments (or guest lectures) will link the academic insights to stories from the real world.
Topics of this course are:
1. Psychology of decision making: rational and non-rational processes (e.g., Kahneman, Ariely, Gigerenzer)
2. Group dynamics (e.g., Janis, Hofstede)
3. Organizational and institutional decision making (e.g., Naím, Mintzberg)

Course objectives

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand rational decision making situations

  • Understand cognitive biases and their effects on “irrational” decision making

  • Understand group dynamics in small groups

  • Understand the impact of management and reward structures on decision making


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Detailed table of contents can be found in blackboard.

Mode of instruction

(guest) lectures
group assignments

Assessment method

  • Active participation and Group assignment 20%

  • Individual assignment 30%

  • Written exam 50%



Reading list

Required reading:

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

  • Ariely, D. (2008). Predictably irrational. The hidden forces that shape our decisions. New York: Harper Collins

  • Additional articles and book chapters, available on Blackboard from the start of the course
    Suggested reading:

  • available on Blackboard from the start of the course

Signing up for classes and exams

You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator

Contact information

Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo