Decision framing is the way that a choice or dilemma is worded and structured. Decisions may be framed to influence decision makers or they may be framed to improve a decision making process to produce high quality decisions. The following are common types of decision framing.
Preserving ambiguity is the idea that a decision statement be as wide open as possible in order to allow for creative decisions. This principle can be applied throughout the decision making process to avoid imposing assumptions and constraints too early. For example, a decision statement such as "what type of park should we create?" assumes that a particular area will become a park. A statement such as "what type of public space should we create?" leaves open more possibilities.
Creativity of constraints is the idea that well designed initial constraints can improve creativity and efficiency. For example, a decision statement such as "how should I get an education without paying any tuition?" is far more difficult to answer than "where should I go to university?" As such, the more constrained decision statement requires more creative alternatives. Constraints can be added and removed from a decision statement to generate alternatives. For example, "what university program should I choose with the constraint that it needs to pay for itself with higher salary prospects within 5 years?"
Positive FramingFraming a decision in an optimistic light. For example, "what steps should we take to delight every customer?"
Negative FramingFraming a decision in an pessimistic light. For example, "what should we do to prevent customer defections given that our products are lower quality than the competition?"
OvercomplexityA decision that is framed with complex language and structure such that a regular person has trouble understanding it. For example, a legal agreement for software that needs to be accepted by every user that contains complexities that only a lawyer would fully understand.
Breaking a decision into a series of successive choices with a structure. Often used to influence. For example, a marketing page for a bicycle may begin by asking you to select a color and then proceed to selecting a model and options. This can result in escalating commitment on the part of the customer.A false dichotomy is an incorrect assertion that a decision is between two alternatives when more options exist. For example, do we want to compete on price or quality?
False AlternativeMisrepresenting an alternative. For example:Do you want to subscribe to our investing newsletter?✓ Yes ✘ I want to invest recklessly without being informed
Decoy FramingPlacing an obvious bad choice in a list of alternatives. This is commonly done in price lists. When customers see that one price is better than the others they may feel an impulse to buy.Ice Cream Cones1 cone - $52 cones - $145 cones - $20The prices in the list above range from $4 - $5 per unit except the second option that costs $7 a unit.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about decision making.
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A list of decision making techniques.
A compete guide to decision analysis.
The definition of criteria with examples.
A definition of decision matrix with complete examples.
The definition of overconfidence with examples.
The definition of decision quality with examples.
The definition of false compromise with examples.
The definition of automaticity with examples.
An overview of influencing with a bunch of examples.
The definition of false dilemma with examples.
The definition of achieved status with examples.
The definition of straw man with examples.
The definition of radical chic with examples.
The definition of civility with examples.
The common types of rhetorical device.
An overview of influence with examples.
The definition of kairos with examples.
An overview of work expectations with examples.
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