The strategic decision processes and information needs of nuclear government-oversight-agency managers
Jones, R. Martin
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Nuclear govemment-oversight-agency (GOA) managers face increasing numbers of strategic decisions with fewer people to support their strategic decision processes. There is an increasing need to find new means of strategic decision support for nuclear GOA managers. This exploratory research contributes toward meeting this need by: (1) developing a set of contextual models of strategic decision making that link mental activities with information needs; (2) deriving a methodology to study the characteristics of the information needed by nuclear GOA managers when formulating strategic problems; and (3) demonstrating the methodology's use in drawing implications for designing decision tools. The literature reviewed in the areas of management. strategic management, decision making, decision tools, and information characteristics formed the foundation for the development of three contextual models of individual, strategic decision making. The most detailed model. the Elementary Mental Activities Model, links the mental activities of strategic decision making with types of information, providing a perspective for strategic information. An experiment was designed to engage nuclear GOA managers in realistic, strategic decision situations. Concurrent verbalizations yielded verbal protocols. Units of information used were identified according to the types of information-entities, attributes, values. relationships. and operators-in the Elementary Mental Activities Model. Unique units of information were identified during coding. "Frequency of use" and "use" by subject and by exercise were calculated for each unit of information. The information characteristics source. level of detail, class, internal/external, and relationship complexity were assigned to entities, relationships. or operators. Thirteen analyses of the data demonstrated the methodology's value for research in strategic decision processes, in strategic information, and in decision tools. All but one of the results were supported in the literature on strategic decision processes. The research led to the following, overall conclusions. 1. The Elementary Mental Activities Model represents the information use of nuclear GOA managers engaged in strategic decision processes and characterizes their strategic decision processes in terms of information use. 2. The methodology developed is useful in measuring the information use of nuclear GOA managers engaged in strategic decision processes for the purposes of determining information needs for designing decision tools.
- Doctoral Dissertations