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Adaptive Decision-Making Technique

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Adaptive Decision-Making Technique

The adaptive decision-making technique takes into consideration a combination of logic and common sense, and while not precise, can produce satisfactory solutions (Landsberger, 2006). The adaptive decision-making technique can be extremely useful in specific circumstances, particularly when the complete problem-solving process cannot be accomplished. Specific circumstances can include: 1) restricted time for research, 2) analysis of problem not necessary, 3) acceptable risk, 4) the freedom to reverse decisions (Landsberger, 2006). The adaptive decision-making technique is based upon using sub-categorized techniques that may fit a problem better, decrease overall risk, and permit a trial and error approach.

Decision Staggering

Decision staggering is a component of the adaptive decision-making technique. Decision staggering allows the decision-maker to make incremental decisions on the path of solving the problem without total commitment to a decision that cannot be changed (Landsberger, 2006). When certain situations exist and a decision is considered necessary, decision staggering contains the ability to find a solution prior to the complete dedication to only one or final solution.

An example of staggered decision-making would be the decision to purchase a new furnace for ones home. Prior to making the purchase, the decision-maker could choose to add more insulation to his or her home, install higher quality windows, or purchase additional blankets. If these decisions did not meet the expectations of the decision maker, his or her final decision would be to buy a new furnace. The benefit of decision staggering would be, all prior decisions made would contribute to the efficiency of the new furnace.

The use of the decision staggering technique would not be efficient if applied to a decision that required an immediate response or involved a simple "yes" or "no" answer.


Exploration is the use of available information to probe for a solution (Landsberger, 2006). Exploration provides the decision maker the ability to investigate solutions through trial and error in order to manage possible risk. The decision maker must establish his or her purpose and goal to cautiously move forward in search of the perfect solution for the problem.

An example of the exploration technique is the diagnosis of a cars rattling motor. A mechanic cannot commit him or herself to a single diagnosis of the problem without investigating all other potential causes for the noise. After exploring all possible reasons of the rattling, a mechanic can focus in on the specific source of the rattling.

The use of the exploration technique would not be useful if information was unavailable and resources nonexpendable.

Managing by Exception

Managing by exception is the process of working on matters that are critical to you, and leave matters to others that are not (Landsberger, 2006). To often individuals become involved in matters in which the individual does not have the authority or knowledge to address the problem. In situations as this, it is in the best interest of the individual to allow individuals with the ability and comprehension to concentrate on the matter, and to find the resolution to the problem.

An example of the managing by exception technique would be a witness to a crime. An individual witnesses a crime and instead of taking matters into his or her own hands, instead contacts law enforcement.

The managing by exception technique would not be adequate if the decision maker had the proper knowledge and comprehension to make the decision him or her self.


Hedging is the technique of avoiding a decision that locks you into a single choice (Etzioni, 1989). When an individual builds in safeguards and flexibility, he or she is leaving the door open for other decisions to be made when additional factors begin to affect the original choice. Using the hedging technique gives the decision maker the ability to rapidly adjust through preparedness, but also stay pro-active in the search for the proper decision, and limit their exposure to complete loss or failure.




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