About the Consortium

This is a practical, consensus definition of the term “decision”:

a commitment to a course of action that is intended to produce outcomes that are satisfying to particular people

The following examples are good, concrete decision illustrations: Mary Smith and her physician settle on the treatment she will receive for her heart disease. After driving Toyotas for 20 years, John buys his first Ford. Admissions officer Thomas rejects university applicant Marino. Having recently developed a promising new drug, GenDel, a small biotech firm, reaches an agreement to be acquired by giant Neisser Pharmaceuticals. Bart Sanders casts his vote for Howard Dean in his state’s primary. Sensors on the production line at Brown Manufacturing detect welding flaws that trigger a shutdown of the line. Representatives of France and the European Union reach an agreement on how to handle France’s violation of E.U. rules on deficit spending. Lucy Charles and Bill Lawrence agree to marry each other (despite the opinions of their friends that they are an awful match). At 2:14 A.M., a trading program at Sharp Investments sells all shares of Farmer Inc. The U.S. House of Representatives approves new health insurance regulations, in the face of intense lobbying by the insurance industry as well as patient advocacy groups. After work, Sally joins her friends at the local bar, has five drinks in an hour, hops into her car, and then heads for home.

There are many faculty members and students at the University of Michigan whose careers are dedicated to understanding or improving how people make decisions, even though their work sometimes is not framed that way or decision making is not be the main focus of their efforts. The Decision Consortium is a social network and distributed center for such decision-related scholarship at the University. Its aim is to do whatever is possible to facilitate its members’ work, including fostering productive, cross-disciplinary collaborations. In the process of doing that, it will assist in the acceleration of advances in the field and improvements in practices that serve the public interest. Among the DC’s activities are regular seminars, an annual conference, occasional speakers, communications about emerging events and opportunities, and small seed grants.

To discuss any aspect of the Consortium’s activities, including perhaps offering suggestions for ways we could better serve decision scholarship at Michigan, you might speak to the coordinator, Frank Yates (Psychology, Marketing; jfyates@umich.edu; 734/764-6138), or any member of the coordinating committee (Rodney Hayward, Internal Medicine, rhayward@umich.edu; Michael Johnson, Marketing, mdjohn@umich.edu..

To join the Decision Consortium, please contact Frank Yates (jfyates@umich.edu) or Stephanie Preston (prestos@umich.edu).