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Carla Susana Agudelo Assuad disputerer for ph.d.-graden i International Business med avhandlingen “Intertemporal decision-making and types of rationality in sustainable development thinking in business: An exploratory study” onsdag 10. oktober 2018. (Arkivfoto: Høgskolen i Gjøvik - nå NTNU)

Making decision that consider in different times frames requires different types of rationalities, specially in the context of Sustainable development in business.

Carla Susana Agudelo Assuad

Ph.d.-kandidat / forsker

Ligger det forskjellig rasjonalitet bak beslutninger som fattes i forretningslivet alt etter om beslutningen har konsekvenser på kort eller lang sikt? Carla Susana Agudelo Assuad har forsket på problemstillingen i sin doktorgradsavhandling, særlig koblet til bærekraftig utvikling.

Det er en forskjell, konkluderer hun. Kortsiktige beslutninger bygger på konkret informasjon, og tas på toppen med virkninger nedover i bedriften med en konstruktivistisk  rasjonalitetstilnærmelse. Beslutninger med langsiktig horisont tas mer etter initiativ nedenfra og opp med øynene rettet mot framtidige hendelser, og har en til å være mer økologisk. Samtidig er det en dynamisk sammenheng mellom kortsiktige og langsiktige beslutninger, en rasjonalitet der langsiktige beslutninger bygger på kortsiktige.

Med ph.d.-kandidatens egne ord:

Making decision that consider in different times frames requires different types of rationalities, specially in the context of Sustainable development in business.

The main argument of this research is that decisions with long-term outcomes are approached with abstract mental representations of future events and a bottom-up structure which suits a rationality that tends to be more ecological.

Meanwhile, the short-term deals with more concrete information and a top-down structure which suits a rationality that tends to be more constructivist.

Nevertheless, there is evidently a spectrum of rationalities rather than a dichotomy because there seems to be a dynamic relationship between the rationality used for short-term and long-term decisions respectively; that is, the latter builds on the former.

 

Carla Susana Agudelo Assuad  disputerer for ph.d.-graden med avhandlingen “Intertemporal decision-making and types of rationality in sustainable development thinking in business: An exploratory study” onsdag 10. oktober 2018.

Hun har fulgt doktorgradsprogrammet ved Handelshøyskolen ved UiA med spesialisering i International Business (tidligere International Management).

Doktorgraden er finansiert av NTNU avdeling Gjøvik, der hun arbeider som forsker.

Slik beskriver kandidaten selv essensen i avhandlingen:

Intertemporal decision-making and types of rationality in sustainable development thinking in business: An exploratory study

The rationality of managerial decision-making processes is a central topic in organization theory due to its relevance in the decision-making process and its relation to understanding behavior.

Similarly, strategic management decisions are set up in environments that consider both short and long-term outcomes, which can create tensions and contractions in resource allocation and planning.

Together, rationality and decision-making with different time frames are especially relevant topics when companies are to engage in sustainable development (SD) initiatives because they should consider inter and intra generational outcomes besides economic, social, and environmental concerns.

Different types of rationality

There is evidence from previous research about the existence of different types of rationality.

However, the managerial decision-making literature does not consider the coexistence of such rationalities. Rather, most studies have a mono-rationality perspective, meaning that consider the decision-making process from either a conventional understanding of rationality (constructive rationality) or an alternative bounded rationality (ecological rationality).

This is problematic because the assumptions of one type of rationality regarding the level of knowledge for making the decision do not consider the change in such knowledge with different timeframes.

Besides empirical and theoretical research in SD implementation in the firm usually overlooks the rationality behind the decision-making process.

Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to explore this gap by asking: What type of rationality might individuals use when making decisions with different timeframes in the context of sustainable development in business?

An exploratory research design

In order to answer that question, this research follows an exploratory research design that mixes conceptual frameworks and empirical data from a multi-case study in order to theorize about the connection between rationality and intertemporal decision-making and its implications for SD.

The thesis suggested in this research is that short and long-term decisions involve different levels of knowledge about the environment and future events, and thus mediate the type of rationality used in the decision-making process.

To explore these ideas, the context of SD in the company is used because it deals with complex dynamics that consider both short and long-term issues.

Long-term vs short-term decicions

The suggested answer to the research question is that decisions with long-term outcomes are approached with abstract mental representations of future events and a bottom-up structure which suits a rationality that tends to be more ecological.

Meanwhile, the short-term deals with more concrete information and a top-down structure which suits a rationality that tends to be more constructivist.

Nevertheless, there is evidently a spectrum of rationalities rather than a dichotomy because there seems to be a dynamic relationship between the rationality used for short-term and long-term decisions respectively; that is, the latter builds on the former.

Three results in the thesis

More concrete this research has three main results, namely:

  • First, it presents a typology of multiple coexisting types of rationality based on the following three factors: (a) how foreseeable the future is, (b) the mental representation of future events, and (c) the structuredness of the problem.
  • Second, it suggests that inter-temporality frames de decision-making process and the resolution of tensions between economic, societal and environmental concerns.
  • Finally, it proposes a relationship between short-term outcomes and long-term consequences.

Research contributions

  • A primary contribution of this research involves adding the temporal dimension to the strategic decision-making debate about rationality, and the emergent perspective of approaching rationality as a multidimensional phenomenon.
  • Second, temporal framing should be considered as an important factor in managerial cognition research since it frames the decision-making process.
  • Third, this exploratory study contributes to the literature that deals with the implementation of SD in the company by suggesting an evolution from polarizing tensions to paradoxes as an organic process that happens in organizations across time and space.

Disputasfakta:

Kandidaten: Carla Susana Agudelo Assuad (1981) Medellin, Colombia, bor i Valdres, Oppland der hun har eget firma, og arbeider som forsker ved NTNU på Gjøvik. Masters Philosohpy in System Dynamics, Universitetet i Bergen, 2003 – 2005 med masteroppgaven “CO2 Taxes and Tradable Quotas, Experiment Evidence of Bias Decisions”. Bachelorgrad i Management Engineer fra National University of Colombia, Medellin, Colombia 1998-2003 med oppgaven “Investments Valuation Model in Energy Sector Using Real Options: Efficient Portfolios and Add Value”. Både master- og bacheloroppgavene fikk resultatet A.

Disputasen blir ledet av instituttleder Gøril Hannås, Handelshøyskolen ved UiA, Institutt for arbeidsliv og innovasjon.

Prøveforelesning tirsdag 9. oktober kl 13.15 i Auditorium B2-001, Campus Kristiansand

Disputas onsdag 10. oktober 12.15 i Auditorium B3-001, Campus Kristiansand

Oppgitt emne for prøveforelesning: “Sustainable development: Implications of re-thinking the concept of rationality

Tittel på avhandling: “Intertemporal decision-making and types of rationality in sustainable development thinking in business: An exploratory study”

Søk etter avhandlingen i AURA - Agder University Research Archive, som er et digitalt arkiv for vitenskapelige artikler, avhandlinger og masteroppgaver fra ansatte og studenter ved Universitetet i Agder. AURA blir jevnlig oppdatert. Avhandlingen vil være tilgjengelig til utlån ved Universitetsbiblioteket. Det vil bli også lagt ut noen eksemplarer av avhandlingen til utlån i lokalet hvor disputasen finner sted.

Opponenter:

Førsteopponent: Professor Elias G Carayannis, GW School of Business, George Washington University, USA

Annenopponent: Forsker Rani Lill Anjum, NMBU

Bedømmelseskomitéen er ledet av professor emeritus Dag G. Aasland, UiA

Veiledere i doktorgradsarbeidet var professor Hans Christian Garmann Johnsen ved Institutt for arbeidsliv og innovasjon, UiA og professor Halvor Holtskog ved Institutt for industriell økonomi og teknologiledelse ved NTNU avdeling Gjøvik.

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