Research Paper: Decision Making Strategies

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[. . .] Terrorism is a way of life; watching for bombs and activities "normal," just as serving in the military and knowing your State is surrounded by enemies becomes so intrusive it is like being blinded by a horrible odor; other people can sense it, but after a while, it is moot to the individual. Thus, the Israeli culture has transposed from the various cultures that immigrated in the 1940s to one with three major paradigms: individualism, directness, and a polychromic world view:

Individualism -- The United States has always enjoyed a sense of rugged individualism, back from the pioneer days and the age of expansion into the west. For Israel, though, in decision making, the culture has become even more individualistic as it has evolved towards westernization. Some collectivist tendencies are still there, but in decision making and achievement, independence and initiative are so highly valued they are expected.

Directness -- Many cultures find Americans too direct; our resumes are seen as boastful, we are seen as lacking politeness; but from the outside, Israeli decision making is considered aggressive and pushy. This is likely due to the internal culture of feeling that there need be no overt formality when they are all one big Jewish family fighting to exist. They tend to adopt the Smith method of quick and easy solutions; if they are wrong, it is easier to apologize later than be accused of non-action.

Polychronic -- For the decision making model, this means Israelis tend to do more than one thing at a time; making decisions that have layers of effects upon policies, not just overanalyzing a single policy or framework (Communicaid, 2009).

Stages in Decision Making

Because we are dealing with countries, it is the foreign policy decisions that are most visible for analysis. Typically, these involve a five-stage process, regardless of the theoretical model (rational choice, value orientation, etc.). These stages may or may not be in consecutive order; decisions on policy are not always made based on ideal conditions:

Phase

Policy

Actor/s

Expectation

Assessment

Groups must assess the international and domestic political environment, which must be understood prior to moving forward.

Background groups, analysts, intelligence agencies, State Departments, etc.

Information and a way to understand extrapolate and juxtapose data.

Goals

States have multiple foreign policy goals; this stage must determine which goals are affected by the international and domestic environment at any given time, which may conflict, and which require prioritization.

Depending on severity of decision; from analyst to top level executives and political figures, Congress, etc.

Goals should be in line with past policy and fit in with tactical and strategic goals. One "incident" should not make a decision move into a forced or panic mode.

Policy

A state must determine what policy options are available in line with the information gleaned and the goals determined. This also involves capacity.

Because capacity is involved, often both civilian and military agencies are consulted; readiness must be accessed.

If the infrastructure cannot handle the situation, then goals and policy must be changed; for instance, a nation might not be able to take on 3-4 police actions at one time.

Formal Action

Usually done at the Secretary of State, Presidential level, this is a formal policy decision announced to the world.

Executive branch; top levels.

Action is public, may go before United Nations, but it is usually serious at this point.

Implementation

Implementation of policy based on goals and information.

State bureaucracy, Ministries, trade, defense, aid, etc.

The tactical portion that also loops back into other formal processes

(Mintz & DeRouen, 2010).

Comparative Processes

The United States and Israel each face any number of threats; some shared, some unique. All require sound foreign policy decisions based on logical, strategic decision making. We can, however, generalize some by theoretical operants:

Issue

U.S. Theory

Israeli Theory

Compare Contrast

Operant and Organization Outcome

Threats to Homeland Security

After 9/11 reality hits; the U.S. now feels vulnerable and no longer protected by geography.

Since inception, constantly at war with terrorism and threats; daily incidents; population has learned to live with terrorism

Until recently, U.S. was sympathetic, but had no real experience; now cultural values transcend and common enemy is identified

Since there is a common course now, both sides align better on decision making goals that contribute to their stance in globalism; more value orientation model.

Global War on Terrorism

WMD are global in nature and not specific to country; must be eradicated

Israel has been preaching this doctrine for decades

Similar enemies mean more similar operant decisions and alignment of policy

Cyber-attacks, biochemical or bio terrorism are shared problems that are now global in nature; value orientation model

Rogue States

U.S. has more concerns with North Korea; still concerned with ICMBs, especially from Korea. Illegal drugs also threaten U.S. stability

Israel concerned with Iran and Syria; Israel surrounded by enemies, penetrated daily by terrorists, and extremists within its own society

All considered more immediate threats to both countries

Require short- and long-term decision making skills that involve other countries, the United Nations, but must fit in with national security issues

Security Culture

National Security Documents; Department of Homeland Security; increased security for transportation and major events.

Sense of security culture within the citizenry; population is used to threats, and the existence of enemies who want to erase Israel is part of the national culture

U.S. committed to global view of terrorist enemies and underwent the largest reorganization of government offices since World War II.

Israel tends to be more pragmatic (Peterson and Smith); prior to the mid-1990s, the U.S. was focused on the Soviets; then after 2001, Al-Qaeda; military stretched thin.

(Larsen & Pravecek, 2006)

Theory into Practice -- Value Orientation and Decision Making

Using modeling to develop an understanding of an approach to decision making can be daunting -- cross-cultural paradigms and understanding differences in world views make it difficult to get to the "meat" of the issue of motives for effective decisions. While cultures differentiate in their way of approaching decisions (conflict, resolution, and merger), they also have some commonalities that can be expressed through a VOM (Value Orientation Model). It is the fundamental idea of each of these concerns and orientations that defines the decision making view of that particular country or organization. Within each of the concerns are three possible views that, if we think of the orientation of decision processes on a sliding scale we have:

Concern / Orientation

Response

Response

Response

Human Nature -- What is the basic nature of people?

Evil -- Most can't be trusted

Mixed -- There are Good and Bad

Good -- Locke's view, people are basically good.

Man-Nature Relationship

Humans should be subordinate to nature

Humans Should be in Harmony with nature

Humans should be dominant over nature

Time Sense -- How do we think of time and chronology?

Past -- People learn from history and draw values from history

Present- the Moment is everything

Future -- Planning and Goal setting are more important than immediacy

Action/Activity

Being -- Enough to just "be" and live.

Becoming -- Inner Development

Doing -- Work hard and apply oneself

Social Relations -- What is best form of society?

Hierarchical -- More authoritarian, some born to lead, others to follow.

Collateral -- Group, everyone shares in decision process.

Individual -- Everyone should have equal rights, decisions are democratic.

(Gallagher, 2001)

When we compare and contrast the United States to the above grid, at least in terms of decision making, we find:

Orientation

Human Nature

United States

Both good and evil people in the world; one must research them; they can be changed with guidance.

Human Nature

Israel

History shows that most people cannot be trusted and are out to destroy the organization.

But, there are good people; it is just tough to find them. Be wary of strangers.

Comments: For Israel, decision making is never done in a vacuum; they believe they are surrounded by enemies on all sides, and therefore, their worldview is one of wariness, need for protection, and first view being skeptical and hesitant. This causes decisions to be made that are often based on a self-interest only model. In the United States, this is tempered by a moderate side of "let's see who is good and who is evil," in which actions speak louder than words.

Orientation

Man-Nature Relationship

United States

Both countries see themselves as being dominant over nature; whether from Biblical roots or Man-Nature Relationship

Israel

From the notion of carving out a nation in the sandy desert.

Comments: The United States has a long (over 200-year) history of manifest destiny when making decisions. Taming the west, the railroads, all contributed to an idea that nature can be used to further political and social goals. So, too, with Israel. They carved out a modern nation from a desert and took a band of people and made them a world respected fighting force in just a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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