The University of Liverpool Podcast

The University of Liverpool Podcast


#041 How to overcome decision inertia

September 04, 2018

On 3 July 2018, Thai rescuers safely extracted the last of 12 boys and their football coach from deep inside a flooded cave. The rescue mission was complex, dangerous and had to be devised and executed quickly. For Professor Laurence Alison, this makes the rescue a fascinating case study in overcoming decision inertia. Decision inertia is the psychological process during crises that freezes decision making. It happens when a decision maker struggles to commit to a choice, when all options could yield negative consequences. Prof Alison contrasts the Thai cave rescue with the Grenfell Tower fire disaster and discusses how emergency responders, and by extension, all high-stakes decision makers, can overcome the paralysing effects of decision inertia.