Business Review - I Can't Decide

May 20, 2021

Ashley Otto gives insight to decision making and the best way to help those who sidestep the process.

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PEOPLE WHO ARE NATUALLY ADVERSE TO MAKING DECISIONS BUT MOTIVATED FOR CLOSURE TEND TO SIDESTEP THE PROCESS. DR ASHLEY OTTO, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MARKETING, GIVES INSIGHT ON WHO THEY ARE, AND HOW TO RESOLVE THEIR ADVERSION.  “What we've found out is that people who are naturally averse to decisions are people who are high in what we call a need for cognitive closure. So these are people who hate openness, hate ambiguity and uncertainty they want firm answers and they are decisive. And so what we've discovered is that people engage in what we call decision sidestepping."  OTTO'S RESEARCH SAYS THAT THIS BEHAVIOUR IS REVEALED BY CHOOSING THE STATUS QUO, THE DEFAULT OPTION, OR REPEATING PAST DECISIONS TO STEAMLINE THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.   “They don't want to spend time grappling over the process and trying to sift through things and find the best solution. They're looking something for something quick, but also credible.”  WHEN IT COMES TO CONSUMERS, NOISY ENVIROMENTS, CROWDED PLACES, AND TIME-PRESSURE, PROMPT A NEED FOR DECISION MAKING HELP.  “But if we know the context that the consumer shopping in, we can start to figure out how aversive it is and then how to help facilitate some of these side-stepping options to simplify that decision. Maybe it's an expert recommendation. Maybe it's reminding them of something they bought in the past. Maybe it's telling them what the majority of consumers are doing. From a marketing perspective, having this knowledge of the context that your consumers are shopping in, they're making decisions is particularly useful and that it allows you to tailor how you help facilitate that decision process for that consumer.”  BUSINESS REVIEW IS A PRODUCTION OF LIVINGSTON & MCKAY AND THE HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY.