Decision-making under information overload : visual representation and ‘fast and frugal’ heuristics as strategies for dealing with information overload

Sephton, Katherine Alison (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The volume of information available to the individual today is greater than ever before. From sources that range from verbal to non-verbal, paper to electronic and audio to visual, there is a constant and ubiquitous supply of information. For managers in an organisational context, whose job it is to manage information from various sources and make decisions based on that, this proliferation of information can be overwhelming. As a result, decision-makers can experience information overload, which can have various detrimental effects on them. Both the problems that information overload can cause, as well as some suggested solutions to the effect are explored. A brief investigation follows into the way in which information in different forms is cognitively processed by individuals is explored. Two possible ways in which decision-makers can respond to the problem of information overload are examined. The first focuses on the visualisation of information and visual management in organisations, looking at two examples, the balanced scorecard and the oobeya room. The visualisation of information often integrates information from various sources, reducing its volume to facilitate cognitive processing. The second response to information overload looks at the use of fast and frugal heuristics. These heuristics ignore some of the available information to ease cognitive processing, resulting in faster decisions that use as little information as possible. Both of these two approaches are explored as potential decision support systems for decision-makers in an organisational context, separately and in combination. One approach is structured and planned, while the other is largely unplanned and intuitive. The similarities are investigated in the way that these two approaches structure information. Both methods aim to reduce the amount of cognitive processing for the decision-maker, minimising the chances of information overload occurring and can be used under certain appropriate conditions to minimise the negative effects of information overload on decision-makers in organisations to result in more effective decision-making processes.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die volume inligting wat beskikbaar is tot die individu vandag is groter as ooit tevore. Vanaf bronne wat wissel van verbale tot nie-verbale, papier na elektroniese- en klank tot visuele bronne, is daar 'n konstante en alomteenwoordige verskaffing van inligting. Vir bestuurders in 'n organisasiekonteks, wie se werk dit is om inligting uit verskillende bronne te bestuur en besluite op die hierdie verspreiding van inligting te basseer, kan dit oorweldigend wees. As gevolg hiervan kan besluitnemers ’n inligting-oorlading ervaar, wat verskeie nadelige effekte op hulle kan hê. Beide die probleme wat inligting-oorlading kan veroorsaak, asook 'n paar voorgestelde oplossings met betrekking tot die effek, word ondersoek. 'n Kort ondersoek kyk na die manier waarop die inligting in verskillende vorme kognitief deur die individue verwerk word. Twee moontlike maniere waarop besluitnemers kan reageer op die probleem van inligting-oorlading, word ondersoek. Die eerste fokus op die visualisering van inligting en visuele bestuur in organisasies, deur te kyk na twee voorbeelde: die gebalanseerde telkaart en die oobeya kamer. Die visualisering van inligting behels dikwels die integrasie van inligting uit verskeie bronne en so word die volume saamgevat om kognitiewe prosessering te fasiliteer. Die tweede reaksie op inligting-oorlading kyk na die gebruik van "snelle en spaarsame" heuristiese metodes. Hierdie heuristiese metodes ignoreer sommige van die beskikbare inligting wat kognitiewe prosessering verlig, wat individue in staat stel om vinniger besluite te neem en so min as moontlik inligting gebruik. Beide van hierdie twee benaderings word ondersoek as moontlike ondersteuningstelsels vir besluitnemings deur besluitnemers in 'n organisasiekonteks, beide afsonderlik en as ’n kombinasie. Die een benadering is gestruktureerd en beplan, terwyl die ander grootliks onbeplan en intuïtief is. Die ooreenkomste in die manier waarop hierdie twee benaderings inligting struktureer, word ondersoek. Beide metodes poog om die kognitiewe verwerkingslading vir die besluitnemer te verminder en so die kanse vir inligting-oorlading te verlaag. So kan dit gebruik word om onder gepaste toestande die negatiewe effekte van inligting-oorlading te verminder, sodat besluitnemers in organisasies meer effektiewe besluitnemingsprosesse kan implimenteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80342
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