First Advisor

Mary K. Kinnick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




Decision making, College students -- Attitudes, John D. Arnold -- Make up your mind



Physical Description

3, ix, 153 leaves 28 cm.


The purpose of this study was to learn more about the attitudes of traditional college-age students toward Arnold's Seven Building Blocks decision-making strategy (John D. Arnold, 1978. The Art of Decision Making. New York: Amacom). to identify student characteristics which could predict those students who are most likely to respond in a positive manner to the strategy and to determine which of the steps in the strategy students perceive as being helpful. The sample population consisted of 62 traditional college-age students currently enrolled in four Oregon educational institutions. Data was gathered through the Decision Making Inventory (Johnson, Coscarelli, and Johnson. 1983) and two questionnaires designed for this study. An attitude score regarding the Seven Building Blocks was constructed for each subject by adding together the scores from the two questions which specifically related to student feelings about using the strategy. This resulted in scores ranging from a low of 2 to a high of 7. Statistical analyses involving chi-square tests implemented by contingency tables were used to ascertain the level of association among variables. The results showed no significant difference in attitude based on the internal or external dimensions of decision-making styles. Age, gender, life responsibility status, or type of decision situation. Statistically significant results (p < .05) were shown for the remaining variables. Thus, for this population, characteristics associated with high attitude scores toward the Seven Building Blocks included systematic rather than spontaneous, decision-making styles; at least two years of college education; and high or very high importance attached to being a good decision maker. Building Block 4. "Establish Your Priorities," was overwhelmingly seen as being the most helpful step, followed by Block 3. "Set Your Criteria." Block 6. 'Test the Alternatives." was third, and Block 2. "State Your Purpose." was fourth. Block 5. "Search for Solutions," and Block 7. 'Troubleshoot Your Decision." tied for fifth place. Block I, "Smoke Out the Issues." was seen as being the least helpful. Information obtained from this study will assist educational counselors, advisors and teachers in understanding student attitudes toward decision making and in predicting which students are most likely to respond positively to learning and using this type of decision-making strategy. It is recommended that further study done in this area include investigation regarding the construction of attitude scores, as well as further corroboration of the predictor variables identified. .


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