Rational Policy Decision-Making: Idealism Versus Realism

  • Madrean Schober
Part of the Advanced Practice in Nursing book series (APN)


As a concept, rational decision-making can be viewed as a multi-step process, from problem identification through solution, for making logically sound decisions. Rational decision-making favors objective data and a formal process over subjectivity and insight, making an assumption that the decision-maker has all relevant data about alternative choices and solutions. This concept also assumes that decision-makers have the time, intellectual ability, and resources to evaluate each choice against others. This chapter discusses the characteristics of a rational approach to policy decision-making and identifies a rational approach model in making policy decisions. The rational approach to making policy decisions is compared to the theory of step-by-step or incremental decision-making. In addition, disjointed incrementalism is discussed in exploring the perspective of what influence that unexpected or unforeseen results may have on the policymaking process.


Rational decision-making Incrementalism Disjointed incrementalism Alternative choices Unanticipated consequences 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madrean Schober
    • 1
  1. 1.Schober Global Healthcare ConsultingIndianapolisUSA

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