6. Principle Based Decision Making

[Last amended: 17 July 16]


Subject Area:


Principle Based Decision Making; that is providing guidance to centralised decision makers.


Issue being addressed:


Research has shown that it is not possible to rely of defined procedures at all times. Procedures need to be adapted to the ever changing environment; on some occasions the established way of working needs to be set aside and a new way of working needs to be developed.  


Dee Hock states that Chaordic organisations need to be provided with a few simple rules to follow. While studies of swarm behaviour support the assertion that complex behaviour can be governed by a few simple rules, it is the act of defining those rules that is the sophisticated task.


If however you go back to the regulatory world, there are two basic types of regulations. Those that are rule based and those that are principle based. The question therefore becomes, do decentralised decision makers require rules or principles to provide them with guidance.


The first issue therefore becomes to differentiate between rules and principles in this context and then do determine which best suits our needs.



Aim of the Research Question:


The aim of this research is

· Firstly, to define the difference between a "rule" and a "principle".

· Secondly, to establish a method to determine and test the guidance given to decentralised decision makers.




  • What is the difference between a "rule" and a "principle"?


  • What are decision making drivers for your organisation?

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