The Play of Analysis

Langley, Ann

Analysis is pervasive. Managers read and write lots of reports and do quite a bit of number-crunching. Yet we all know of situations where decisions were wrong because they just weren’t well thought out (“extinction by instinct”), and we know of others that were analyzed interminably without getting anywhere (“paralysis by analysis”). 

Paradoxically, we sometimes seem to over-analyze the little decisions and under-analyze the big ones. How and why does this happen? What can we do about it?

The objectives for this topic are to:

  • Understand how and why analysis is used.
  • Consider situations where we overdo it or underdo it.
  • Think about how to get the balance right.

This topic is available in a "for non-profits" version.

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