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Vision and Flexibility

Abstract

An effective leader must have a clear vision and a strong will to stand by it, even in turbulent times. At the same time, though, it is also equally important to be open-minded and flexible enough to respond objectively to new information without being prejudiced by prior information. This paper illustrates how these seemingly contradictory qualifications are related and determined in a model of intrapersonal conflicts. We consider a decision maker who is capable of deceiving herself and manipulating information in some particular way to construct a rosy view of the world. There is a cost of doing so, however, because a distorted belief leads to a distorted action which is in general less efficient. This tradeoff creates a tension within herself and constrains the extent of information manipulation, thereby allowing us to identify the determinants of vision and flexibility. Among other things, we show that vision and flexibility are substitutes, and their respective levels depend crucially on attributes such as self-confidence level and fragility as well as the strength of willpower.Vision, Flexibility, Intrapersonal conflict, Confirmation bias, Willpower, Self-confidence.

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