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The Organizational Dimension

One of the most significant elements of social context is the organization in which decision-makers operate. Organizations are social systems, and they are not decision neutral. To appreciate this, let’s carry out a thought experiment where you create a single challenge facing three organizations. To keep the experiment scientific, let’s say that each organization is an oil company experiencing a serious petroleum leak in an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico. (Sound familiar?) The conditions of the leak are identical for each company. Let’s say the “challenge” each company faces is to decide the best approach to handle this emergency. Based on the experience of the 2010 BP oil spill, we know that managers have ...

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