Public Management Decision Making: Effects of Decision Content



One obvious aspect of public management decisions and decision making has largely escaped attention—decision content. We examine the effects of decision content by asking the following questions for budget cutback and information technology decisions: How does content affect the time required for decision making? How does content affect who participates? How does content affect the decision criteria employed? How does content affect the information quality used in the decision-making process and red tape? The results suggest that information technology and budget cutback decisions differ in important ways. For information technology decisions, cost-effectiveness is not a significant criterion, average decision time is much longer, and decisions are generally viewed as permanent and stable. For cutback decisions, cost-effectiveness is a significant criterion, decisions are made much more quickly, and they are viewed as unstable and changeable. Surprisingly, decision content does not appear to affect the number of participants.