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Chapter 5

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

Theories based on the Idiosyncratic Characteristics of individuals: Individual level of analysis:  Builds causal theories by exploring decision maker’s idiosyncratic features -Instead of focusing on the positions of foreign policy decision makers to understand `what ideas or policies the individuals will put forth and support, practitioners of this theory focus on attributes specific to the individual -Individual personalities, beliefs, psychological make up, experiences, may influence their decisions much more than their roles Perception and Misperception  Different people may look at the same event or incident and perceive it differently Belief-Systems  Decision makers often hold sets of beliefs, which force them to interpret or perceive other countries’ actions in particular ways Responding to Uncertainty  Procrastination can occur as a result of calculation o Wait for information to come in before making any decision-defensive procrastination o People refusing to deal with a problem in the hopes that the problem will resolve itself o Hopes the problem will go away  Bolstering o When decision makers stop engaging in the broad search for information, and instead of exploring the full range of policy options, choose instead to intensify their quest for information that supports the choice they have already made How are decisions made in a crisis?  How situations affect decision makers and their decisions  Crisis o 1.) A high threat to something the decision makers value very highly o 2.) Surprise: Are decision makers caught off guard? o 3.) The need for a quick responses o 4.) Fatigue as key factor in the crisis  Factors cause decision makers to act in ways that pull them away from rational decision making
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