Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The pitfall of simple decisions

14.04.2008
The temptation to make seemingly simple and powerful decisions will eventually turn against the decision maker. It is a myth that complex social issues can be readily resolved as long as there is someone who creates order.

This is the assertion of Lasse Gerrits in his dissertation The Gentle Art of Coevolution, in which he investigated the decision-making concerning the expansion of the Hamburg and Antwerp ports. Simplification tends to exacerbate rather reduce problems.

For his research, Gerrits reconstructed the decision-making process around the expansion of the ports of Hamburg and Antwerp. In that regard, he investigated the manner in which the decisions about deepening the waterways were reached. Port authorities are constantly seeking ways of expanding the capacity of their port in an effort to retain their position on the international scene. Expansion-related decisions need to be taken quickly, and all factors that are felt to be interfering are kept outside of decision-making process as much as possible. However, port developments also touch on complex environmental and social issues.

The reconstruction showed that this exclusion of interfering factors would, in fact, lead to greater physical and social problems, or the threat of these, such as water level changes and social protest. This puts even greater pressure on those taking the decision, and makes it even more tempting to further simplify the decision-making process. After all, if the problems are considerable, one does not want to be distracted by ‘noise' such as complaining citizens and environmental groups. Politicians and officials try to focus their efforts on the core of the problem. However, these kinds of complex problems can rarely be stripped down to a single core. If the decision makers concentrate on one aspect, they often forget about other, equally important, factors. This simplification of the decision-making process is counterproductive.

The study showed that this actually causes problems to escalate instead of being resolved. Physical problems with rivers and social unrest continue to exist or are even amplified, because they remain excluded from the decision-making process. These types of problems also occur where other spatial issues are concerned. Politicians and officials should therefore not allow themselves to be tempted by the pretence of simplicity, according to Gerrits. Complex issues demand complex decision-making and not forced simplification.

Yvette Nelen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eur.nl

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>