SSOURCES OF EMOTION
Cause of Emotional Trade-Off Difficulty
Understand How Emotions Influence Decisions
Protect Decision Makers from Feeling Emotion
Decision makers are human, so emotions play a role in their choices. Compassion for employees, concern about future reputation, and other considerations may generate emotions that affect the way we make decisions.
Imaging a manager who is faced with the difficult decision of downsizing a department, letting go two of the 10 alternatives (the 10 employees), and each alternative can be defined along a series of attributes. But the decision in this is obviously challenging. Because there is emotion involved. The manager will probably not simply process the decision by weighting particular attributes, rank ordering the choices, and terminating the employees with the two lowest scores, even though normative models of decision making assume such a process.
As the stakes of a decision increase, the desire to find the best normative solution may coexist with the desire to manage or minimize one's negative emotion.
Thus, the manager will probably factor in the consequences of coping with emotion.
Coping changes the process of a decision by causing decision makers to work harder, but not necessarily smarter. The manager in this case may spend a lot of time mulling over the choices. Although overall decision-making time is increased, emotion can cause an avoidance of the difficult, emotion-laden parts of the decision.
In an emotion-laden situation, a manager may make such a trade-off implicitly rather than explicitly. That is, a decision process may be used that does not consciously acknowledge the trade-offs implied by the choice. To avoid explicit trade-offs, the manager may fall back on simplified heuristic patterns of processing.
Emotional coping may also change the outcome of a decision.
Every decision involves trade-offs. Decision making is essentially the process of accepting less of something to get more of something else. It is often assumed that decision makers explicitly weigh these trade-offs and calculate how much of one attribute they are willing to give up in order to gain a unit of another attribute. Explicit weighting and comparison of trade-offs is assumed.
Decision makers may avoid explicitly weighing different decision attributes against one another because doing so requires mentally-taxing mathematical calculations. Decision makers are also concerned about something else: minimizing negative emotion. Decision makers may, therefore, also avoid explicitly weighing or trading off different decision attributes because doing so requires emotionally costly consideration of what is being given up.
Considerations regarding negative emotion actually become more prevalent in higher stakes decision situations.
In an emotion-laden decision, it is not just this cognitive effort that will be considered but also the emotional toll of the decision.
The standard economic view of decision behavior assumes that all these trade-offs are the same and that decision makers have well-articulated preferences that they can weigh when making the decision.
Decision makers may either respond specifically to the emotional distress associated with particular trade-offs or resist trading-off certain protected attributes, such as those regarding human life or the environment. Most people would also be appalled by an explicit trade-off between love and money.