1 April 2021 (173 words)

Which way?

The BBC has an interesting article: Do 'maximisers' or 'satisficers' make better decisions?

According to the article, there are two main types of decision-makers:

  • 'Maximizers' weigh choices carefully to assess which is the best one.
  • 'Satisficers' make decisions quickly and accept a 'good enough' outcome.

Each approach comes with benefits and drawbacks. Being a maximizer tends to be very time-consuming and can lead to post-decision regret and counterfactual thinking. Conversely, satisficers may not necessarily get the best outcome. As a general rule, maximizers do better but feel worse.

Of course, at SolverMax we focus on optimization modelling, so obviously we prefer the maximizer approach. But even then, often it can take a solver a very long time to find an optimal solution. In such situations we may have to accept a near-optimal solution as the best practical trade-off between outcome and timeliness.

As the article suggests, perhaps the best way to make decisions may be by combining maximizer and satisficer tendencies.