Decision-making biases may hamper your effectiveness and productivity

Posted on August 25, 2013


The Qur’an engages Muslims to practice consultative decision making by urging us in  chapter 42 verse 38, “Amruhum Shura Baynahum.”

“Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation among themselves; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance” [are praised]

Please note that the shura process in Islam is not the same as group decision-making.  In consultative decision-making, the leader does not have consult with every person in sight, but only with ahl-ar-ray,  the persons of competence.  Shura is not group decision making because it is only advice that is being provided, and the leader may or may not follow that advice.  However, one should note that there was never a time when the Prophet (s) asked for shura that he did not follow the shura advice.

One major reason why the Qur’an encourages Muslims to use a consultative process and why the Prophet (s) practiced shura in even the most difficult circumstance (e.g. at Uhud) is because of the cognitive biases we all fall victim to in the manner we make decisions.  The following article by Gus Lubin from Business Insider by discusses some of these biases.

People aren’t as rational as we would like to think. From attentional bias — where someone focuses on only one or two of several possible outcomes — to zero-risk bias — where we place too much value on reducing a small risk to zero — the sheer number of cognitive biases that affect us every day is staggering.  Understanding these biases is key to suppressing them
Read more by clicking here:


Posted in: Islam