Today’s business world is characterized by a complex non-linear environment, non-hierarchical organization structures, multi-country and de-centralized operations, etc. The prominent models of decision-making that were primarily developed with the industrial economy in mind, and that viewed decision-making as a couple of linear sequential steps and “decisions given-and-decisions followed” — might not work too well. Knowledge-based economies call for developing decision-making models that represent the complexity of the present world business. Under such context, we present an alternative approach to studying management decision-making — seeking inspiration from the natural/biological systems. Bees show similar behavior in their foraging activities, as a single objective management decision-making problem. The uniqueness of the developed model lies in its ability to explain the major properties of a complex system, and the value that emergence (of a decision) brings to a company.
Tshilidzi Marwala is the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation, Postgraduate Studies and the Library at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University (USA), a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria, a PhD in Engineering from Cambridge University, was a post-doctoral research associate at the Imperial College (London) and completed a Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. His research interests are multi-disciplinary and include the applications of computational intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine. He supervised 41 Masters and 13 PhD students to completion. He has published six books, over 260 papers in journals, proceedings and book chapters and hold three international patents. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Systems Science.