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The Choice Structure

Choice structureThe construction of a choice based on data is the "Head" part of a decision. This has the shape of a pyramid with sides and levels. Others use a "tree" for this purpose but a pyramid's shape is wide at its base with clearly distinguishable sides and one can see in detail the material out of which it is made. Looking upward, these sides converge and join at its top. From this position higher level management can look far while each side is close by. Their concern is strategic planning which involves a wide view on things, of concepts and of ideas. The tree shape is just the opposite.The different levels in a structure At each level of the structure people have an idea what they want to arrive at. The English language has many words for a point one wants to arrive at. In this site the following words are used from above to below: aim, goal, objective, result and target.

The Roman Church teaches why we are on earth. To become happy, here and in the hereafter. Who would disagree?

Goals are desirable, but they start to contradict each other. We want economic growth and good environment, but...?

Objectives are more specific and should be SMART

These are most specific - like orders or tasks.

The Dimension fiveWhen the words aim, goal, objective, result and target are used with the adjectives general, broad, concrete and specific one can imagine how many levels one could make between the most general aim and the most specific target to indicate of what one wants to achieve.











An Aim is general and vague. One can only agree with it.

Most would also agree about Goals.

The third level is Objectives.

The fourth and fifth level are Results and Targets

ResponsibilityThe construction of a decision structure is an interactive interdisciplinary process between people of different expertises, disciplines and interests. This process is best steered by an independent person who allows each contributing party sufficient room to interact and whose main interest is the design of a good structure: a Choice Architect. He will interact with the different people responsible at the various levels and goal-sides of a choice structure. - At the lower levels, are the experts in their respective field responsible for the provision of specific inputs. They have to collect, assess and evaluate the data that relate to their specific fields of expertise and interests of which they are considered specialist and to have the best knowledge of.- At the middle level, are the superiors or leaders of the groups responsible for assessing the strategic and political relevance of the specific information, provided by the experts, related to their specific goal.- At top level of the pyramid, where the goals and objectives converge, are the policy makers/directors who have to determine how and to what extent they want to consider these goals in their decision.

However, people possess a short-term and a long-term memory. It seems that the short-term memory is used in processing inputs and outputs and that most of us are only able to distinguish and oversee up to five different issues at once. In constructing a decision in which the layers show what one wants to arrive at, it is also preferable to have no more than five. The reason for this limitation in our processing capacity could be that the human brain is geared to the processing of inputs received from the five senses hearing, sight, taste, touch and smell. It might also be because we have only five fingers on which we started counting and, when having to cope with more, we feel that it is 'running out of hand.' The number five is also present in the “SMART" definition of a good objective and in the "5Ws" instruction for writing a good story.


the 5 Ws