Course Title: Decision Making

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 001395

Course Title: Decision Making

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


630H Management


Sem 2 2006

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Carlene Boucher

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5914 or 0417545794

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: School of Management

Course Coordinator Availability: email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Admission into a Masters or Graduate Diploma Program in the Business Portfolio or equivalent

Some work experience

Course Description

This course aims to develop ‘learning-to-learn’ skills in the domains of decision making, problem solving, creativity and abstract conceptualisation by engaging the student in a variety of learning activities on an individual and team learning basis. It focuses on the role of the leader as a decision maker and problem solver by providing students with some insights into, and experience of, the techniques adopted by effective leaders in the workplace.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Knowledgeable: The course introduces participants to classic and contemporary theories and trends in decision making, problem solving, creativity and abstract conceptualisation. Learning contract requires literature review.
Creative :There is an emphasis on creativity in the decision making process so as to generate alternative solutions. Participation in activities that require finding creative solutions to changing environments; learning in action segment of the learning contract will benefit from inclusion of creative action steps.
Critical: Critical reasoning is encouraged through exploration of ethical, political and cultural influences on decision making. Analysis and critical thinking is a feature of the learning contract and critical incident report .
Responsible: Course addresses issues of ethical responsibility. Reflection on actions in the learning contract and interpretation in the critical incident report should address responsible decision making.
Employable :Effective decision making and problem solving is recognised as a crucial skill of middle and senior managers. Individual and group decision making skills are encouraged.
Life-long learners :The subject matter encourages critical thinking skills and the need for ongoing diagnosis. Reflection component of learning contract encourages life long learning.
Potential leaders: Leadership choices and implications are addressed in the curriculum. Critical review of decisions in both assignments encourages better quality in decision making.

On completion of the course students will have:
• worked through a variety of approaches to decision making in relation to workplace decisions;
• considered and discussed the nature of uncertainty and ambiguity in relation to their own situations as decision makers;
• considered how factors such as gender and cultural background impact on decision making;
• explored their own approaches to decision making and problem solving in their leadership roles.

Overview of Learning Activities

This course focuses on the management competencies relevant to decision making in the workplace. It is underpinned by the philosophies and methodologies of self - directed learning and contract learning in management development.

Four workshop days provides the opportunity for students to explore a range of competency frameworks for decision making and problem solving, to undertake preliminary diagnostic assessments and to practise techniques particularly related to creativity, abstract conceptualisation, critical analysis and environmental analysis. Students will develop, implement and write up an individual learning contract based on the student’s particular learning needs. Regular meetings with the student’s Professional Development Team will assist students in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of their individual learning contracts.

Workshop sessions are supplemented by handout material, however, in keeping with the principles of self - directed learning, it is essential that students take responsibility for accessing appropriate literature themselves. The practical experience of lecturers and of other participants, shared during interactive group discussions, will provide a rich source of real life examples of applications of managing others in complex situations. The student’s individual research skills are also a crucial aspect of their own learning and a significant contribution to the learning of their team members.

In summary, the course incorporates all aspects of Kolb’s Learning Cycle, that is, Concrete Experience, Reflective Observation, Abstract Conceptualisation and Active Experimentation.

In addition to the two workshops there will be regular scheduled meetings of teams assisted by team consultants. In addition to the contract learning process, the aim of these meetings is to assist students in sharing theoretical resources, to seek feedback on their performance within the team, to assist with analysing critical incidents in the workplace and to apply new approaches for improvement in performance.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with an introductory reading list.  They will then be expected to individually and collectively locate resources relevant to their individual learning contracts.

Overview of Assessment

There are two assessment tasks.
• Contract learning proposal (approx. 1000 words)
• Contract learning report (maximum 5000 words)

Assessment Codes and Weightings:
No higher grading than a pass is awarded to assessment tasks in the course.

All assessment tasks must be passed in order to obtain an overall pass for the course.