Using cogent evidence and illustrations from studies of top-level policymakers in government, business, and public welfare organizations, Janis shows how the likelihood of failure is substantially reduced if sound procedures of information search, appraisal, and planning are used. He alerts executives to the preconditions, precipitating events, and catalysts that create situations where the most dangerous error of decision making—relying on simplistic decision rules—often occurs.
By following the four essential steps outlined by Janis, policymakers can adopt “vigilant problem solving,” the high-quality procedural strategy for arriving at policy decisions When policymakers utilize the vigilant problem solving approach, they are likely to take full account of the various constraints involved in a situation and may even seek out additional information about them. Consequently, the risk of failure, especially in critical situations, is substantially lowered. Janis’ highly acclaimed decision making strategies give a powerful advantage to managers in all kinds of organizations, from the smallest family business to the largest corporation and government agency.