Digital information design and decision making

Antje Kerstin Gammon

Student thesis: Master thesis


The impact of digital information on decision making in an unfamiliar environment was examined. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 15 expats living in Copenhagen. The data revealed that the most significant issue is that digital information is in Danish rather than English and hence can’t be understood by many expats. It was found that the conceptual model for digital information does not work and therefore the decision making is made on intuition instead of analysis of the information. This is due to simplifying methods being employed in the absence of digital information that can be processed with a low cognitive effort. This is compounded by living in an unfamiliar environment, leading to increased demand on cognitive load. Humans have limited attention and memory capacity and it was observed that expats require cognitive resources for accustoming themselves to the unfamiliar environment. The simplifying method that expats employed to get information they understand, was talking to colleagues or fellow expats. Since talking to people is a natural process, that makes low demand on cognitive load and is a System 1 process, the resulting decision making can be described as reverting away from the normative decision making model to the descriptive decision making model. This model relates to System 1 and is also referred to as the intuitive system (Kahnemann, 2011). Hence decision making, in the absence of digital information that is meeting the needs of the user, can be described as more intuitive.

EducationsMSc in Accounting, Strategy and Control, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages132