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Decision Sciences

Hall of Science entry and garden.

The Decision Sciences Lab is focused on three primary areas of research and scholarship:

  1. Decision Quality
    • The measure of whether decisions achieve the desired future outcomes
  2. Risk, Security, and Intelligence
    • How intelligence minimizes decision risk by mitigating future uncertainty and reducing subjectivity
    • How security concerns influence and are influenced by decision paradigms
  3. Leadership
    • Leadership-as-practice that focuses on the choices leaders make to achieve distinctive future outcomes rather than individual traits or behaviors

Each of these areas utilizes aspects of both cognitive psychology and analytical skillsets. In the areas of Risk, Security, and Intelligence, we research both the cognitive aspects of intelligence gathering and analysis as well as practical components of how intelligence is utilized as a risk management tool by senior executives as well as senior leaders in the Intelligence Community (IC). With leadership, the lab’s research efforts bring together cross-disciplinary scholar-practitioners from industry, academia, and government to inform best-practices in leadership practices and the development of individuals as leaders. The leadership component also has a professional and executive development aspect to bring research and practice to companies and government entities wanting to develop leaders that can break the constraints of bounded rationality and lead to achieve desired organizational outcomes. The third main thrust of the lab is in decision quality. In this area we work on both cognitive aspects of decision making, to focus on creativity, generating larger sets of decision options, using structured analytic techniques, and exploring the role of AI and ML in improving decision quality.

Underlying these three main areas are ongoing work in both courage and forensic psychology.

Research areas:

  • Decision making

  • Leadership

  • Risk/Intelligence

  • Organizations and Culture

  • Courage

  • Forensic Psychology

  • Security Studies

Learn more about the field

Visit the Academic Resilience & Security Community (Academic RiSC) site for more information on what we do.

Learn more

Affiliated Faculty

Ken Sawka.Kenneth Sawka Affiliated Researcher

Kenneth Sawka has more than 30 years of experience at the confluence of business strategy, intelligence and national security, and organizational leadership development. Ken is a part-time lecturer at Northeastern University, teaching graduate-level courses in Intelligence and Homeland Security and Intelligence Analysis. Ken is also President at Crumpton Group, an intelligence and risk management advisory firm in Washington, DC. Before joining Crumpton Group, Ken was the CEO of Fuld + Company, Managing Partner at Outward Insights, and a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Global Strategy and Operations practice. Earlier, Ken was an intelligence analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency. Ken has been quoted extensively on business strategy and intelligence in Fast CompanyInvestor’s Business DailyAmerican Banker, and other prominent journals. He has also been featured on CNBC’s morning business talk show Squawk Box. Ken has an EdD in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University. He received a Master of Arts degree, with distinction, in International Relations and a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in Political Science from AU.