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I believe the decision approach to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle is best described as mixed-scanning. Mayor Murray pulled in a large committee of experts, and gave them free-range to complete the task, with only two rules: a four-month timeline, and they weren’t allowed to consider anything else to reach an agreement. At this point it seems that it cannot be rational comprehension, since they are not allowed to research, analyze or even consider important relevant factors. At the same time, if Simon’s theory of bounded rationality is accurate, then only an organization could fully utilize rational comprehension because individuals do not have the capacity to be completely rational, nor to satisfactorily comprehend the required amount of comprehensive data to make a fully rational decision. Had the committee worked together, maybe, but they were acting as silos toward their own agenda. However, at a higher-level, the experts in the room were able to consider the possibilities, without getting too detailed, of how the decision could affect Seattle and its diverse businesses. Mayor Murray intentionally chose individuals who he knew would push strongly for what they believed was best for their agenda. This served the purpose of brining in useful information without the need of extensive analysis, while applying changes to a system that already existed.

There was already a push for increased minimum wage moving across the country and a precedent set with SeaTac – the committee knew if they didn’t come to an agreement it would be placed on the ballot for a vote. Towards the end, the mayor created a smaller committee within the original to move things along. This group of 8 helped to reduce the amount of information that was stagnating the agreement.

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Rational comprehensive decision making takes too long, and at too great of an expense due to being vastly over-thorough, which causes too long of a delay in making a decision. In the same way, having a surplus of committee members all telling their stories and arguments was an overabundance of information that resulted in a lack of productivity. It wasn’t until after Murray reduced the scope, by reducing the sources of information, that the potential of a decision could be made.

A few weeks after the gang of eight was formed, Maud Daudon sketched her drawing on a white board, showing how two categories of businesses could arrive at the same goal, at different times, through the implementation of incremental changes. The idea was that both business classes could handle the change in the time frames allowed. Once the G-8 were able to refocus on the goal, they could incrementally improve upon a decision. The “conversation [went] from this amorphous-like nothingness… into something where people could react and respond.”

By gather knowledgeable leaders who produced high-level information of their respective arenas, and setting minimal rules, the group was able to make incremental decisions leading to fundamental decisions that could produce a viable change. This is my understanding of what mixed-scanning is, and why I believe mixed-scanning best describes the decision approach used.

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