What are the main decision challenges and risks within the UN? How do you overcome them effectively? What is the best alternative among many? How do you identify it? What are the different behaviors of group members in the decision process, and what is the role of decision implementation? What are the best decision tactics, and how can ethical decision making be encouraged?

Put together up-to-date knowledge on decision science with UN realities. This course supports participants to apply an effective array of decision making strategies and skills to turn UN policy into action.

This course was designed and will be delivered in partnership with an outstanding team of senior leaders from the UN system and members of academia.

Dr. Jan Vandemoortele will start the course with an introductory  session on Effective Decision-making in the UN, sharing his experience as former RC to Pakistan and one of the main architects of the MDGs. His session will be followed by Prof. Alan Pearman, Professor in Management Decision Analysis at Leeds University Business School. Lastly, Ms. Joan Dubinsky (former Director of the UN Ethics Office), will conduct the last online live session dedicated to the ethical dimension in decision-making.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Examine decision challenges and successes within the UN system.
  • Apply effective and practical decision analysis techniques, commonly encountered by UN managers.
  • Measure by a range of different performance indicators the strengths and weaknesses of a set of alternatives.
  • Distinguish and recognize availability and other cognitive biases which greatly influence your decisions.
  • Gather and select enough and/or relevant intelligence so to increase the quality of your decision as well as the number of decision options.
  • Identify collective decision-making tools and convert them in your team.
  • Describe ethical blind spots and risks linked to decision-making in a multicultural environment.
  • Develop effective decision-making strategies, taking into account ethical implications.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This course is delivered online. It combines synchronized online sessions on our virtual classroom, led by subject experts, with self-paced activities and interactive group discussions.

The weekly synchronized sessions are conducted on the WebEx online platform. Participants need a computer (or mobile device), a reliable internet connection and either a headset with microphone to connect to the audio through the computer, or a telephone. No special software is required; but participants must be able to access WebEx, so please check the admin rights on your computer. We will send instructions for WebEx access to registered participants.

The synchronized online sessions are from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Rome time (8:00 am – 10:00 am NY time), on WEDNESDAYS (October 10, 17, 24 and November 7).

The self-paced components and discussion forum for each week of the course are designed and structured on UNKampus, UNSSC’s Learning Platform.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 
  • Week 1 - Effective Decision-making in the UN: Decision challenges and success within the UN system, on the field and at HQ; UN decision-making case study analysis; practical examples of decision-making in the UN.  
  • Week 2 - Balancing Strengths and Weaknesses: Multi-criteria choices; Availability and other cognitive biases; Bounded rationality; Decision quality framework; Tools to explore trade-offs. 
  • Week 3 - Choices under uncertainty and choices made by groups: Decision trees; Quantified and non-quantified use of decision trees;  Longer term strategic thinking; Interacting with stakeholders; Group vs individual decision-making; Individual and social processes that underlie group decision-making; Improving decision-making in small groups; Game theory, negotiation and bargaining.
  • Week 4 - Peer to peer exchange and reflection exercises on past decisions.
  • Week 5 - Ethical Decision-making: Values and virtues of the international civil service; Leadership and trust (comparing government, non-profits, media, and business data); Ethical decision-making models; Internal and external barriers to right action; Ethical blind spots; How ethical behaviour influences organizational culture.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

This course is recommended for P4 professionals and above. Other staff may be accepted depending on functional responsibility.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee of USD 1,250 covers full participation in the online course.

Keep me updated

I would like to receive email notifications about updates on this course