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Decision Making Processes


Admission requirements


The core of social organization is the process of ‘decision-making’ for those organizations. In contemporary societies, policy-making involves public, private, and international interactions operating in an increasingly complex environment.

Understanding decision-making processes is essential to understanding the limits and promise of collective organization that forms the very foundation of civilization – while also suggesting ways in which existing processes can be improved.

While the focus will be on decision-making in an organizational context and on policy-making in the public sector, substantial attention will also be paid to assumptions of individual decision-making processes that underpin different theories of collective decision-making processes. Discussions will directly address the application of our understanding of the policy process to international institutions and arrangements.

Course objectives

The core learning objectives for this course are:

  1. Students will be able to orient themselves in the intellectual landscape of theoretical and empirical understandings of individual and collective decision-making, and how these theories connect to public policy making.
  2. Students will develop an appreciation for complexity and challenges of governing collectives of individuals – and possibly reassess their own critique’s of policy-makers successes and failings.
  3. Special emphasis will be put on generalizing the arguments examined in this class for application outside of the context for which they were traditionally developed – including applications to international organizations, social clubs, and even groups of friends trying to choose a place to eat.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

This course will be primarily seminar-based, with short lectures (30 -45 minutes long on average), with student preparation for classroom discussion forming a core component of the class. However, certain concepts may be demonstrated via classroom experiment or ‘serious games’.

Assessment method

  1. Verbal and interpersonal engagement with course material: assessed through In-class participation (20% of final grade):Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7
  2. Individual engagement with course readings: assessed through 3 reaction papers (25% of final grade):Each due 24 hours before readings are discussed
  3. Conversational immersion in course content : assessed in oral examination. 2 answers prepared in advance. 2 questions given during exam (25% of the final grade) :By appointment during Week 8
  4. Application of theoretical discussion to a particular policy area in one or more countries or contexts.: assessed in Final research/essay paper (30% of final grade): Proposal due by the beginning of Week 4: Sunday at 23:59- Final Paper due end of Week 8, Friday at 23:59


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

Most readings will be disseminated via the course website. No more than one book should be required for purchase for this course. Please contact course instructor about whether a book is required for purchase


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information

Dr. Brandon Zicha:

Weekly Overview

Subject to Change
Week 1: Theories of Individual Decision-Making: Rationality, Bounded Rationality, and Rule-based decision-making.
Week 2: Paradoxes and challenges of collective decision-making
Week 3: New Institutional Theories of Policy Making Domestically and Internationally
Week 4: Incrementalism vs. The Politics of Attention and Punctuated Equilibrium
Week 5: Policy Implementation & Policy Analysis
Week 6: Comparative Decision-Making Processes in Developed, Developing, Divided, and Globalized communities.
Week 7: Comparative Policy Outcomes
Week 8: Reading & Exams

Preparation for first session

Students should contact professor when enrolling for this course for the specific readings for the first session which will be made available by September 15th.