Smart Heuristics for Managing Under Uncertainty

Prof. Jochen REB
Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Singapore Management University

Date: 04 December 2023 (Monday)
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Venue: E22-G015
Host: Prof. Kraivin Paripont CHINTAKANANDA, Assistant Professor of Management
Online registration:


In this talk, I will draw on my upcoming book (Reb, Luan, Gigerenzer, 2024, MIT Press) to discuss how business executives can make good decisions in a VUCA world with the help of smart heuristics. I will draw on the research on fast-and-frugal heuristics inspired by the work of Simon and Selten as well as other research. In a VUCA world, complex analytical methods quickly reach their limits or become entirely inapplicable. Less is often more, and complexity is better met with simple strategies. In such environments, simple rules that search for and use little information often lead to better decisions by being not only faster but also more accurate, transparent, and easier to communicate, teach, and learn. I will discuss the idea of a repertoire of heuristics, referred to as the adaptive toolbox, that leaders, managers, and professionals can use to make decisions. I will elaborate on the concept of ecological rationality, which prescribes the environmental conditions under which specific heuristics work well. Like any strategy, a heuristic cannot work well in all situations, which makes it important to understand in a principled way when it will be effective and when not.


Jochen Reb is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources and founding Director of the Mindfulness Initiative @ SMU at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University. His research and teaching focuses on two main areas: how smart heuristics can help individuals, teams, and organizations make effective decisions in a VUCA world, and the role and application of mindfulness in organizational contexts such as leadership, sustainable wellbeing, and performance. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles in many leading academic journals. He has recently co-authored a book on smart heuristics in management (forthcoming at MIT Press) and co-edited the book Mindfulness in Organizations (Cambridge University Press). He has also written a number of teaching case studies on decision making and mindfulness.

 All are welcome!