Radboud University

Blog 4: Decisions, dilemmas, models

Models that structure decision-making situations can assist in making choices. I use such models in my research and teach students how to apply the models in complex decision-making processes. When making choices in my daily life, or in my work, I often do not take the time to model the situation. Of course, life is full of choices and many choices can (and should) be made based on what your heart tells you. But my academic dilemmas seem to happen more and more often, and maybe call for an analysis with models…?

Hereby I present a number of dilemmas that I have recently faced or are currently on (top of) my mind. Some options have impact on the short-term, others on the longer term. Each dilemma is a trade-off between the categories research, teaching, impact and/or academic citizenship.

  1. Give a presentation and workshop about game theory and strategic decision-making in an organization to disseminate knowledge (impact) OR work on a paper which needs to be resubmitted to a new journal (and has been lying there for a long time) (research).
  2. Develop, organize, and teach a summer school of 1 week about gaming-based approaches as a research method in an interdisciplinary collaboration (teaching) OR use the 1 week to develop my Veni pre-proposal in a focused setting (research).
  3. Be an editor for a special issue in a journal about the integration of participatory and mathematical approaches to complex systems (impact/academic citizenship) OR develop my own research line on evaluation of participatory game theory-based interventions (research).
  4. Take part in an online session on communication and impact of Recognition & Rewards (academic citizenship) OR prepare a presentation for a lightning talk at the Behavioral Operations Research workshop in the same week (research).
  5. Contribute to a mini symposium on Futures and transformations by giving a talk and workshop (research/impact) OR develop new slides for my lecture and exercise session on Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (teaching).

You might now wonder which choices I made in the end. Or whether I decided to do both at the cost of something else, for example, time with my family or running in the forest. To me that is not the point of this blog series on Recognition & Rewards dilemmas, although I am happy to tell you about the choices I made over coffee. The point I want to make here is that a self-defined career path with a particular focus on research and impact (with a certain amount of teaching) for the coming 3 years would resolve dilemmas 2, 4 and 5 for me, and this would save a lot of (mental) modelling time.

~ Femke Bekius