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					Government Marketing:

Is Managerial Decision-Making
Ability in the Public Sector
Different from the Private
Sector?

Dr. David Clark-Murphy
University of Notre Dame Australia
"The facility to predict decision-
making performance of individual
managers is of significance, not only
for executives and scientists, but for
society itself" (Streufert & Swezey,
1986).
Some managers make good
decisions in complex
environments, others do not.

Why?
This study investigates relationships
Public Sector managers' decision-
making performance environments of
varying complexity.

Results are compared with Private
Sector studies.
Analysing the content of
management decisions or decision-
making behaviour may not lead to an
understanding of the underlying
principles because decision-making
prescriptions that produce success in
one setting may not be transferable
to another.
If individual decision-making
depends upon the specific context, it
may not be the objective nature of
the environment but the individual
manager's subjective interpretation
of the environment that contributes
to differences in decision-making
performance.
Review of the literature (1965-2005)
suggests that subjective interpretation
depends upon the individual's information
processing characteristics and other self-
regulatory mechanisms
(Schroder, Driver & Streufert, 1967; Wood &
Bailey, 1985; Streufert & Swezey, 1986;
Streufert & Satish, 1997).
Successful marketing depends, at least in
  part, on the marketer having a clear
  understanding of stimuli required to
  make their target markets to:
1.pay attention;
2.develop an interest in;
3.raise a desire for the product, service or
  idea;
 and
4 be motivated to take action
The stimuli relevant to Public Sector
marketing are generally services or ideas.

Whatever the marketing principles
adopted, the marketing message needs to
be aimed at providing information in a
form, style, and complexity that best suits
the information processing
characteristics of the target audience

          yes that’s us!
For this to occur, Public Sector
marketing decision makers need to
empathise with the information
processing characteristics and likely
decision-making outcomes of their
target audience – that is,
Yes that’s us again- ordinary
citizens
BUT
Recent criticisms of Public Sector
managers suggest that their capacity
to make decisions may be impeded by
an increasingly complex working
environment, a product of public
sector reform.
Public Sector reforms towards a more
 commercial and managerial style
 have brought some Public Sector
 managers into situations where they
 make marketing decisions, such as:
Government marketing:
Save water (shower with a friend)
Don’t drink and drive (you’ll spill
 your drink)
Quit smoking.
The research design included
examination of these relationships for
using a series of well-established
computerised instruments.

Sample:
A convenience sample of 203 government
managers, balanced for gender, ethnicity,
age and experience and from a range of
agencies.
                   Instruments
• "Circumgrids" (Chambers and Grice, 1986).
  1999 version of the computerised co-ordinate
  grid analysis to measure information
  processing.
• Watson-Glaser’s Critical Thinking Appraisal
  (Watson and Glaser, 1984) as a control
  measure for information processing.
• "The Furniture Factory" (Wood and Bailey,
  1985), a 1999 version of the computer-
  simulated organisation to measure decision-
  making performance.
The experimental design
standardises the information
environment and its mode of
presentation.

Decision making performance has
been benchmarked (at 100%)
across approximately 4,000 private
sector manager subjects.
Test                                Mean   S.D Private    Sector
                                           .   Normal range

Critical thinking ability (WGCTA)   34.4   1.7   34
Information Processing              8.8    2.1   11.8 (sd 2)
(Circumgrids)
Decision making performance across 80.5% 5.0     100%
all levels of environmental
complexity (Furniture Factory)
Decision making performance in low 84%     8.6   100%
environmental complexity
(Furniture Factory)
Decision making performance in      86%    7.6   100%
medium environmental complexity
(Furniture Factory)
Decision making performance in      72%    7.9   100%
high environmental complexity
(Furniture Factory)
                              120


                                          Decision-making performance of
                              110
                                          sample managers
Decision making performance




                              100                                                 ICLEV

                                                                                  High
                               90
                                                                                  Mediu


                               80
                                                                                  Low

                               70
                                    low                     medium         high

                                     Environmental Complexity
                              120


                                          Comparison of sample managers and
                              110
                                          private sector only managers.
Decision making performance




                              100                                                    ICLEV

                                                                                     High
                               90
                                                                                     Mediu


                               80
                                                                                     Low

                               70
                                    low                    medium             high
                                     Environmental Complexity
           Decision making performance.
              120

           of sample managers by info processing capability.
                              110
Decision making performance




                              100                                     infoproces

                                                                      high
                               90
                                                                      medium


                               80
                                                                      low

                               70
                                    low               medium   high
                                    Environmental Complexity
Results showed that many government
managers were unable to make effective
decisions beyond the medium level of
environmental complexity.
The results of this study highlight
a need for simulation measures to
be programmed to accommodate
the differences in cognitive
capabilities amongst managers;
particularly amongst private and
government sectors.
A need for further research was
identified to establish
performance benchmarks and
design parameters to suit
alternative workplaces because
they differ in structural and
operational complexity.
This study shows that, in a controlled
decisions-making environment,
government managers generally
make less effective decisions in more
complex environments than private
sector managers.

What are the consequences?
     Thanks for listening…

    Dr. David Clark-Murphy
University of Notre Dame Australia

   dclark-murphy@nd.edu.au

				
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