I’ve subscribed to the Harvard Business Review for about five years. When the monthly magazine arrives in the mail, it often seems there are either several articles pertinent for business intelligence or none at all. The February 2009 edition was one of the former.

The article: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions, cites neuroscience research to observe that leaders often make decisions through the unconscious processes of pattern recognition and emotional tagging. Pattern recognition use assumptions from prior experiences to categorize a current decision situation, often suggesting solutions similar to those that worked in the past. Emotional tagging is about the emotionally-committed preferences of the decision-maker, which of course can have substantial impact on the action taken. These processes, which in ways are similar to rules of thumb or heuristics, may produce effective decisions. They may also, however, be sources of systematic bias that can lead to faulty decisions.

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