Deciding & Achieving > Comparing Decision Methods > Plotting Decision Methods

Step 2: Plot the Decision Methods

The TET permits us to look simultaneously at all seven methods of decision-making in an arrangement that reflects the basic character of action within psychosocial reality. Step 1 involved choosing the axes. Step 2 involves plotting each method on the TET.

Start with the more extreme…


This approach is focused on facts and certainty rather than the task and results, and is also utterly impersonal.

So we locate it in the lower left corner of the lower left quadrant.


Positions of the three extreme decision methods: Imaginist, Empiricst and Systemicist.

This approach is maximally personal and individualized, whereas its focus on specific tasks is at best subsidiary and even downplayed.

So we locate it in the upper left corner of the upper left quadrant.


This approach is complicated precisely because it emphasizes both the importance of a deep understanding of inter-connections amongst tasks and issues, and an appreciation of people as unique individuals and as members of groups and wider society.

So we locate it in the upper right corner of the upper right quadrant.

Continue with the more central…

The Rationalist and Dialectic are both oriented to people, in so far as they are members of groups. So they must lie in the upper half of the TET, although not as high as the individualistic Imaginist and comprehensive Systemicist approaches.

Positions of the three central decision methods: Structuralist, Dialectic and Rationalist.

The Dialectic is less task-centred than the Rationalist because it focuses on goals and values of sub-groups, tribes or special interests that often extend outside the organization. In contrast, the Rationalist focuses on organizational achievement and the shared goals of insiders.

We locate the Dialectic in the upper left quadrant near the centre,
and the Rationalist in the upper right quadrant near the centre.

The Structuralist approach is less person-centred because it views people as 'post-holders' i.e. instruments of the organization. In its most procedural or bureaucratic form, it approaches the impersonality of the Empiricist. However, determining capability and fitness for a post and wielding authority are both more person- and task-centred than collecting facts and checking hypotheses.The focus on specific output is not high because people are allowed freedom to get on with the job in accord with their responsibilities: results being checked via performance reviews.

We locate the Structuralist in the lower left quadrant but nearer the centre.

Plot the remaining approach…

Position of the Pragmatic method in the Lower Right quadrant.

The Pragmatic approach focuses on dynamic action and that makes it primarily task-oriented and located on the right half. A Pragmatist is self-interested and uses others—which places it in the lower half. So that locates it in the otherwise vacant lower right quadrant.

Within this quadrant, pragmatism appears Closedin different guises ►

This approach is therefore located as a diffuse ellipse in the lower right quadrant.

The next step is to get a clearer fix on discrete zones of the axes.

Originally posted: 21-Apr-2011

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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