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18: Ambiguity and Interpretation in Choice (Daniel Newark)

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

By Daniel Newark - HEC Paris

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Required readings

March, J. G. (1987). Ambiguity and accounting: The elusive link between information and decision making. Accounting, organizations and society, 12(2), 153-168.


March, J. G. (1994). Chapter 5: Ambiguity and Interpretation Primer on decision making: How decisions happen. Simon and Schuster. (available here)


Newark, D. A. (2014). Indecision and the construction of self. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 125(2), 162-174.


Discussion questions

In terms of future directions, I would highlight two broad categories. The first is better connecting these key ideas to other work both inside and outside of Carnegie, such as work on intendedly rational choice, learning (see Levinthal & Rerup, 2021 for a first step), the logic of appropriateness, sensemaking in the Weickian tradition, identity, entrepreneurship, leadership, and narrative-focused studies of organizations.


The second is generating tractable empirical questions. For the most part, the core ideas in these readings have yet to be translated into the language of IVs and DVs. A valuable next step would be to begin to do so, including generating ideas for how those IVs and DVs may be operationalized and modeled and how their relationships may be tested.


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