What are the main decision challenges and risks within the UN? How do you overcome them effectively? How do you identify the best alternative? What are the different behaviours of group members in the decision process, and what is the role of decision implementation? What are the best decision tactics, and how can ethical decision making be encouraged?

This course supports participants to apply an effective array of decision making strategies and skills to turn UN policy into action. It exposes them up-to-date knowledge on decision science, taking into consideration UN realities.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Examine decision challenges and successes within the UN system.
  • Apply effective and practical decision analysis techniques, commonly encountered by UN managers.
  • Measure by a range of different performance indicators the strengths and weaknesses of a set of alternatives.
  • Distinguish and recognize availability and other cognitive biases which greatly influence your decisions.
  • Gather and select enough relevant intelligence to increase the quality of your decisions as well as the number of decision options.
  • Identify collective decision-making tools and apply them to your team.
  • Describe ethical blind spots and risks linked to decision-making in a multicultural environment.
  • Develop effective decision-making strategies, taking into account ethical implications.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This course is delivered entirely online. Participants can start it at any time and complete it at their own pace. They are required to complete all activities within three months. They will be required to complete a course questionnaire to get a certificate. There are no weekly webinars.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 
  • Topic 1 - Effective decision-making in the UN: Decision challenges and successes within the UN system, on the field and at HQ; UN decision-making case study analysis; practical examples of decision-making in the UN.  
  • Topic 2 - Balancing Strengths and Weaknesses: Multi-criteria choices; availability and other cognitive biases; Bounded rationality; Decision quality framework; Tools to explore trade-offs. 
  • Topic 3 - Choices under uncertainty and choices made by groups: Decision trees; Quantified and non-quantified use of decision trees; Longer term strategic thinking; Interacting with stakeholders; Group vs individual decision-making; Individual and social processes that underlie group decision-making; Improving decision-making in small groups; Game theory, negotiation and bargaining.
  • Topic 4 - Ethical decision-making: Values and virtues of the international civil service; leadership and trust (comparing government, non-profits, media, and business data); Ethical decision-making models; Internal and external barriers to right action; Ethical blind spots; How ethical behaviour influences organizational culture.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

This course is recommended for P4 professionals and above. Other staff may be accepted depending on functional responsibility.

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