We each make decisions all the time about private matters and think we're pretty good at it--at least sometimes, or until we get feedback. But group decision making about public issues, such as those involving the environment and the economy, is a bit more complicated. Leaders and participants in such public decision making often lack a sense of the structure of the process. This 12-page publication applies insights from the decision sciences and behavioral decision research to address problems with stakeholder participation. The authors, both of whom are decision scientists, focus on practical tools that can be used during the initial phases of the participatory process, where all stakeholders work together to clarify the relevant values and identify potential solutions to the problem at hand. Public officials, managers, and university and Extension faculty who lead decision processes will find the text, along with illustrations of the nine-step Decision Cycle and a Decision Matrix, both useful and usable--even in the heat of a decision-making process.

The other five publications in the "Public Science Communication Research and Practice" series are: Public Outreach and Behavior Change: An Annotated Reference Guide for Outreach Practitioners (ORESU-L-07-002), Hold that Thought! (ORESU-H-08-005), Expand Your View (ORESU-H-08-006), Mental Models Interviewing for More-Effective Communication (ORESU-H-11-002), and An Analysis of a Survey of Oregon Coast Decision Makers Regarding Climate Change (ORESU-S-09-001).

Free download: Printable .pdf

Robyn S. Wilson and Joseph L. Arvai
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12 pp.
Size and Format: 
8 1/2 x 11, color cover, B&W text, paper