Understanding Construction Workers’ Risk Decisions Using Cognitive Continuum Theory
Menches, Cindy L.
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The goal of the research presented in this article was to construct a theory about the influence of decision cues on intuitive and deliberative decision-making in high-hazard construction environments. Drawing from Cognitive Continuum Theory, the article specifies a framework for understanding why and how construction workers make decisions that lead to taking or avoiding physical risks when they encounter daily hazards. A secondary aim of the research was to construct a set of hypotheses about how specific decision cues influence whether a worker is more likely to engage their intuitive impulses or to use careful deliberation when responding to a hazard. These hypotheses are described in this article, and the efficacy of the hypotheses was evaluated using cross-tabulations and nonparametric measures of association. While most of the associations between decision cues and decision mode (i.e., intuition or deliberation) identified in this data set were generally modest, none of the associations were statistically zero, thus indicating that further research is warranted based on theoretical grounds. A rigorous program of theory testing is the next logical step to the research, and the article thus concludes with numerous suggestions for extending the research and testing the proposed hypotheses.