Decisions of Value: Going Backstage; Comment on “Contextual Factors Influencing Cost and Quality Decisions in Health and Care: A Structured Evidence Review and Narrative Synthesis”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Abstract

This commentary expands on two of the key themes briefly raised in the paper involving analysis of the evidence about key contextual influences on decisions of value. The first theme focuses on the need to explore in more detail what is called backstage decision-making looking at how actual decisions are made drawing on evidence from ethnographies about decision-making. These studies point to less of an emphasis on instrumental and calculative forms of decision-making with more of an emphasis on more pragmatic rationality. The second related theme picks up on the issue of sources of information as a contextual influence particularly highlighting the salience of uncertainty or information deficits. It is argued that there are a range of different types of uncertainties, not only associated with information deficits, which are found particularly in allocative types of decisions of value. This means that the decision-making process although attempting to be linear and rational, tends to be characterised by a form of navigation where the decision-makers navigate their way through the uncertainties inherent and overtly manifested in the decision-making process.

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