An Attention-Based View on DSS

An Attention-Based View on DSS

Sven A. Carlsson (Lund University, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-843-7.ch004
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Commentators on decision support and decision support systems (DSS) have called for serious discussion of the discourses underpinning decision support and DSS (Huber, 1981; Stabell, 1987; Humphreys, 1998). Huber and Humphreys say that decision support and DSS discourses are critical to the advancement of the academic DSS field as well as to DSS practice, but the discourses are too seldom discussed. This article questions the influential “decision-making as choice” view. We suggest that the attention-based view of the firm (Ocasio, 1997) is a promising alternative view of organizational decision-making and that this view can be a basis for DSS design. More than 50 years ago Herbert Simon suggested that to explain organizational behavior is to explain how organizations distribute and regulate the attention of their decision-makers (Simon, 1947). Simon was emphasizing the duality of structural processes and cognitive processes in structuring of organizational attention. More recent writings have either emphasized cognition and activity or structure. The attention-based view of the firm explicitly links structure, activity, and cognition and the view stresses that organizational decision- making is affected by both the limited attentional capacity of humans and the structural influences on a decision-maker’s attention.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Rational Decision Theories: Theories of decision making as intentional, consequential action based on knowledge of alternatives and their consequences evaluated in terms of a consistent preference ordering.

Attention-Based View: A view seeing the organization of attention as a central organizational process out of which decisions arise.

Decision Support Portals: A (single) access point through which a decision-maker can access information, applications, and services needed to make decisions and perform knowledge related work and activities.

Decision-Making As Choice: A common view in the organizational decision-making and DSS literature which focuses the choice phase and assumes that the purpose of decision-making is to make rational choices

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