Behavioral Decision Making

Being a leader requires not only the ability to make important decisions independently but also the capacity to influence others’ decisions.

In this two-day program, we will use the frameworks of choice architecture to examine the decision-making process. We’ll study the various ways choices are framed—and how this framing can influence decisions. The topics explored will help you become a better decision maker in your professional life and beyond.

Choice architecture—popularized by economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein—was originally designed to influence consumer behavior. But its applications have proven constructive for organizational leaders and managers who need to make and influence important decisions.

Through engaging case studies, discussion, and exercises, you’ll learn when and where flawed thinking can occur, how you can intervene, and how you can ultimately make and influence smarter decisions for your organization.

You will uncover the inner workings of human biases and judgment. And you’ll gain insights into how inherent bias or poorly structured information can affect business decisions. You will learn to recognize these hurdles so you can develop better decision-making outcomes and improve your bottom line.

Program Benefits

  • Explore the fast-growing fields of behavioral economics, behavioral insights, and behavioral decision making––and why they matter
  • Learn how to identify cognitive biases and structure your environment to eliminate destructive bias
  • Discover the psychological factors that drive economic decisions and how these impact your business and bottom line
  • Improve your ability to forecast the outcomes of decisions
  • Understand how to leverage the power of “nudges” and behavioral interventions  
  • Understand how heuristics and biases can affect the decisions you make everyday
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered


    • Human biases that affect judgment
    • Conscious and unconscious choice-drivers 
    • The effect of emotion on judgment
    • Judgmental errors that plague all organizations
    • Ways to “de-bias” judgment

    Decision Making 

    • Understanding of choice architecture 
    • Exploration of the origins of behavioral decision making
    • Perception of risk, its impact on choices, and how to better communicate it 
    • Decision making under uncertainty and what an ideal decision looks like

    Choice Architecture in Business  

    • How businesses and governments are using behavioral economics to design decision making
    • The promises and pitfalls of forecasting 
    • Experimentation and data to optimize performance
    • How to become an effective decision architect by redesigning the decision-making context

    Who Should Enroll

    This program is applicable to anyone in general management who wants to improve decision making at their organization and positively affect the bottom line. Those working in these fields would especially benefit:

    • Marketing
    • Advertising
    • Finance and investment
    • Consulting  
    • Sales
    • Government
    • Market research
    • Product management
    • Communications
    • Public relations

    Program Information

    Program Dates

    June 22–23, 2020
    Instructor J. Peter Scoblic
    November 18–19, 2020
    Instructor J. Peter Scoblic

    Class Times

    2020 Class Times: 8:30am-4:30pm

    Program Fee

    2020 Program Fee: $2,895


    One Brattle Square
    Harvard University
    Cambridge, Mass.


     J. Peter Scoblic is a fellow in the International Security Program at New America, where he writes and speaks about prediction. Previously, he served as executive editor of Foreign Policy and The New Republic. He was also deputy staff director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he was a nuclear weapons adviser and chief foreign policy speechwriter for Chairman John Kerry. He has written for publications from The New York Times to the journal Science, and in 2008 Viking Press published his book, U.S. vs. Them, an intellectual history of the modern conservative movement and its impact on American foreign policy. He received his A.B. in political science, with honors, from Brown University, and he is currently pursuing his doctorate in management at Harvard Business School.

    Read More about J. Peter Scoblic