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Brunswik and Complexity

Ray W. Cooksey
Armidale, NSW, Australia

My research is evolving on several fronts. First, in conjunction with a postgraduate student, I am involved in a more traditional judgment analysis investigation of personnel manager judgments of job applicant suitability for interview. Identifying specific cues employed by managers making such judgments are a key focus of the research. Second, one of my PhD students has embarked on a unique investigation of the decisions and judgments made by private art collectors in Australia. Her interest is in retracing the decision processes involved in the pursuit and acquisition of specific art pieces by collectors. The research will involve a combination of think-aloud process tracing and judgment analysis. She has access to some of Australia's highest profile collectors and the analysis should provide some interesting insights into the behavior of art collectors.

I reported last year that I was engaging in some work that was not strictly Brunswikian, yet was founded on some very fundamental Brunswikian principles. This work continues. It focuses on establishing and testing complex dynamic systems conceptualizations of work behavior and decision making. Conceptualizations have been separately established for understanding work performance and for the decision making of court magistrates in light of highly interconnected environmental, organizational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal contexts. The work performance conceptualization has been tested in a small-scale idiographic study of teachers in a private Sydney high school. By tracking teacher perceptions of five interacting subsystems of influence on their work performance over time, the influences were shown to behave in a complex and chaotic manner that could not be captured by traditional linear modeling techniques. Work on testing the implications of the magistrates' courtroom decision-making conceptualization will likely proceed later this year, commencing with some in-depth interviews of a sample of NSW magistrates. I have also begun to merge some of this conceptual dynamic systems work into an MBA I teach on managerial decision making.

Contact Ray W. Cooksey

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