Perception is defined on the Wikipedia as follows: "In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information." (Wikipedia, 2006b). It goes further explaining how perceptions are formed, how they change, and how there can be no perception at all. Let's see:
"Many cognitive psychologists hold that, as we move about in the world, we create a model of how the world works. That is, we sense the objective world, but our sensations map to percepts, and these percepts are provisional, in the same sense that scientific hypotheses are provisional (cf. in the scientific method). As we acquire new information, our percepts shift. () Just as one object can give rise to multiple percepts, so an object may fail to give rise to any percept at all: if the percept has no grounding in a person's experience, the person may literally not perceive it." (Wikipedia, 2006b).
"Decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. Every decision-making produces a final choice. It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but we do not know what. Therefore decision-making is a reasoning process which can be rational or irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions." (Wikipedia, 2006a).
In the decision-making process many biases can get in the way. Among the reasons for this kind of drawback the Wikipedia enumerates the following reasons:
"Selective search for evidence
Premature termination of search for evidence
Conservatism and inertia
Wishful thinking or optimism
Anchoring and adjustment
Group think - Peer pressure
Source credibility bias
Incremental decision making and escalating commitment
Underestimating uncertainty and the illusion of control
Ascription of causality". (Wikipedia, 2006a).
On a closer analysis to all these causes that provoke error in the decision-making process it is easy to find "perception" at the core of all these evils. Most of the causes for faulty decisions in the business real of action happen due to misperceptions in one way or the other.
The Wikipedia goes on explaining how the ethical principles of decision making vary widely. It lists the following principles and methods as the most common in any decision-making process:
"the most powerful person/group decides (method: dictatorship or oligarchy)
everyone participates in a certain class of meta-decisions (method: parliamentary democracy)
everyone participates in every decision (direct democracy, consensus decision making)" (Wikipedia, 2006a).
As "Groundwork for Making Effective Decisions" the Josephson Institute of Ethics states the following concepts, emphasizing our responsibility and accountability in any decision-making process:
"Whether or not we realize it at the time, all our words, actions and attitudes reflect choices. A foundation to good decision-making is acceptance of two core principles: we all have the power to decide what we do and what we say, and we are morally responsible for the consequences