Posts Tagged ‘digital’


February 21, 2015

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: HAPPENSTANCE – TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND.

Link to my original post in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal:…

Short Fiction – a naughty love story

From My Creative Writing Archives : 

Here is a zesty Mumbai story I wrote around 15 years ago, in the year 2000, after a browse in the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda in Mumbai.

I saw two women in an animated conversation – and suddenly this story was conceived in my mind – so I went home and wrote it.

I am sure you will enjoy this naughty romance…

TETE-A-TETE WITH MY HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND – naughty story by Vikram Karve

“Excuse me, are you Urvashi Mukherjee by any chance?” a feminine voice said from my right.

I turned my face and looked at the smart young woman wearing a red top and dark blue jeans.

The woman was not ‘fair and lovely’ in the conventional sense.

But she looked very desirable, in a sensual kind of way.

Chic and sexy, flowing hair, with just the right amount of make-up, she exuded confidence.

And as she looked at me with those wonderfully radiant, large and expressive dancing eyes, I felt a strong attraction for her, even though I too was a woman.

“Yes. I’m Urvashi Mukherjee,” I said.

“Hi… I’m Babita. Babita Khanna,” she said.

“Sorry Ms. Khanna, but I don’t think we’ve met before.”

“Sad isn’t it? But I know everything about you my dear Urvashi,” she gave a vivacious laugh.

Then she reached out to my arm displaying a rather impulsive and gratuitous intimacy and said to me, “I recognized you instantly, the moment I saw you. You look exactly like you do in your photograph…”

“My photograph…?” I asked, pulling away my arm.

“Yes. You look lovely. You look exactly as in the photo Milan keeps in wallet.”



I did not like the way she said “Milan” 

How dare she casually refer to my husband in such a familiar manner, and that too by his first name.

And she had called me Urvashi too …

I was truly flabbergasted. 

Who was this woman? 

Why was she acting so intimate and talking to me on first name terms? 

And how had she seen my photo in Milan’s wallet?

“You know Milan?” I asked

“Of course. We work in the same office. Hasn’t Milan told you about me?”

“No. I don’t think so. At least I don’t remember.”

“That’s surprising. Well, I know everything about you. But you know nothing about me” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She looked at me, and in a rather patronizing manner, she said: “Milan should have told you about me. He’s told me everything about you.”

“Milan has told you everything about me?” I repeated.

“Yes. He always talks about you,” she said.

I was taken aback, quite bewildered.

I did not want to talk to this woman.

So I turned my face away from her and looked straight ahead at the painting in front of me.

Then I turned towards her and said, “Well, well. Quite intriguing. Milan has told you everything about me. But he hasn’t told me anything about you!”

“Hey, Milan didn’t tell me you were an art-buff. I never imagined I would run into you here – at the Jehangir Art Gallery.”

“I’m no aficionado,” I said, trying to sound sarcastic, “I’m just killing time here till it stops raining.”

“Aficionado? That’s a good one! I never imagined you’d speak such highbrow English considering you’ve studied in a vernacular school,” she said sarcastically.

This insult was too much. 

Anger began to rise inside me.

But the woman persisted, and she said, “You know Urvashi, Milan keeps telling me of your hilarious malapropisms when you were newly married.”

“I’m sure he has told you about our honeymoon too?” I blurted out in anger.

I instantly regretted my words, the moment they left my mouth.

“Of course I know everything about your hilarious honeymoon,” she said with a mischievous smile.

“What?” I asked, stunned.

She smiled and said, “He told me about the way you got all sozzled on your first night on the beach in Goa when he mixed Feni in your juice hoping to remove your inhibitions.”

Now I was really furious.

I did not want to talk with this woman any longer.

So I said, “Good Bye, Ms. Khanna. It must have stopped raining outside. Time for me to go. I’d hate to come in between the beautiful paintings and a true connoisseur of art like you.”

“Hey. Come on. I’m no connoisseur of art. I too ran in here to take shelter from the heavy rain,” the woman laughed.

Then she said, “And listen – don’t call me Ms. Khanna, just call me Babita. I’m calling you Urvashi isn’t it?”

“Okay. Nice talking to you,” I said, and I walked out of the gallery hall into the foyer of Jehangir Art Gallery.

It was still raining.

So I stood at the entrance looking out towards Kalaghoda waiting for the rain to stop.

To my horror I noticed that the woman had followed me and was standing next to me which made me feel quite uneasy and uncomfortable.

She was a real mystery.

How come Milan had never mentioned her?

He always told me everything about his life. 

That’s what I had thought. 

At least till now.

I had plans for the afternoon and did not want this woman clinging to me like a parasite.

“Let’s go shopping,” the woman said, as if reading my mind through clairvoyance. 

“No. I have got some important work,” I said.

She looked at me with a curious expression and said, “Work? What work will you do all alone at home?” 

So she knew.

Milan had told her even that.

I looked at her firmly and said, “I’m really not keen on shopping right now. Besides I have to get home early. We’re going out for a movie and dinner tonight.”

“No, you aren’t,” she said confidently

“What do you mean we aren’t? He’s already bought the tickets.”

“Maybe he has bought the tickets, but Milan is not going to turn up before midnight. You can take my word for it.”

“He promised me,” I said defiantly.

“Promises are meant to be broken. He won’t come. He’ll be busy doing my work since I have taken the day off. And then he has to go to a business dinner.”

“Doing your work? Business Dinner?” I asked, flabbergasted.

“Don’t delve too much,” she said

“What nonsense? I’ll ring him up right now,” I said, and took out my mobile phone.

“No point trying to call Milan now,” she said, “his mobile will be switched off right now. He’ll be in a meeting. But don’t worry. Milan will ring you up at around six to cancel your movie date and dinner programme. He’ll tell you he has to work late. Of course, Milan won’t mention the ‘business dinner’ part though.”

“Business dinner? How do you know all this?” I asked, confused and angry.

She winked and said, “I told you. Milan tells me everything. There are no secrets between true friends.”


True Friends? 

Milan and this woman called Babita Khanna who I had never heard of before?

This was getting murky.

First she was a colleague.

Now she’s suddenly become a friend of my husband … a true friend … just imagine … she is a true friend … and me … what about me?

The whole thing was bizarre. 

It was incredible and unbelievable.

No secrets between Milan and his girl friend.

But plenty of secrets between Milan and me, his lawfully wedded wife.

The rain was down to a drizzle. and she said, “Come let’s go shopping. And then we’ll enjoy ourselves. We’ll go to all your favourite places. And we will do all the things you like.”

I wondered why she was doing this to me? 

Why was she chatting me up? 

What was her motive? 

Was she trying to tell me something?

Was this really a chance meeting, a pure coincidence, happenstance, serendipity?

Or was it a contrived coincidence?

I had to get to the bottom of it all.

So I said to the woman: “Okay Babita. Let’s go on a date. I want to find out whether Milan has really told you everything about me.”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This story written by me in the year 2000 and posted online earlier in June 2006 in my creative writing blogs at urls:… 

Posted by Vikram Karve at 2/21/2015 12:17:00 PM


September 28, 2013


Musings on the Future of Creative Writing

Link to my original article in my journal:

Last week I had the good fortune to participate in a few interesting sessions of the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) held at MIT Kothrud Pune from 20 to 22 September 2013.
For me, one important “takeaway” from PILF was that nowadays: “More people Read on Digital Screens than Paper”.
In the days to come, this trend will increase exponentially and we may soon reach a stage where the “Digital Space” overshadows the traditional print medium, as far as all forms of writing and reading is concerned, including creative writing and literary reading.
This predominance of the digital space is going to cause a total paradigm shift in the publishing industry.
At various sessions during the Pune International Literary Festival, most publishers and editors were talking about the decreasing financial viability of publishing on paper as compared to the electronic medium.
Many publishers were saying that the future of publishing creative writing, especially literary fiction, lies in the “Digital Space”.
Why is this happening?
The main reason is “Technology”.
Technology has provided the hardware gadgets and software applications to optimally exploit those gadgets.
But most importantly, technology has liberated writers from the clutches of editors and publishers.
CREATIVE WRITING – Why Does a Writer Write?
Why do you write?
If you are a writer, you will realize that writers write for two reasons:
1. Some write because they want to earn money (commercial writing)
2. Others get the urge to write because they want to say something (creative writing)
In your case, which is the primary reason why you write?
There was a time when writers could earn enough money to make a living.
That is why writers could afford the luxury of full-time writing (and not doing a job).
But was difficult to establish yourself as a “published author” since you were at the mercy of editors and publishers.
And only if you could establish yourself as a published author could you earn enough money from your writing to make it a full-time vocation.
It was a Catch-22 situation.
If an editor did not print your writing in a magazine or a publisher did not publish your book you were doomed to failure as a writer, as these were the only ways you could make your writing reach the reader.
Either you had to be a celebrity, or have the right “contacts” in the publishing industry, or get that “lucky break”, or keep peddling your writing doggedly despite getting rejection slip after rejection slip.
Publishers evaluated writing purely from the business point of view.
Your writing had to be “sellable”.
That is why “commercial fiction” is most sought after by editors and publishers.
The combination all these factors is the reason why many “wannabe” budding writers who tried their hand at writing, faced rejection, got frustrated, fell by the wayside, and since they could not financially sustain themselves, they had to take up other professions.
Everything changed with the advent of the internet, proliferation of information technology and innovations like blogging in the “digital space”.
Now, “publishing” is no longer the monopoly of a handful of publishers and the stranglehold of editors is over.
Anyone who wishes to write can instantly “publish” their writing on blogs and showcase their literary work to the world.
I feel that blogging is the biggest “blessing” for those who wish to write, especially creative writers.
Yes, apart from social media, blogging is the most significant innovation of information technology.
Now, with widespread proliferation of the internet, every person has the opportunity to write.
All you have to do is to set up your blog (which is simple and free of cost on a number of popular blogging platforms like blogger, wordpress, typepad etc).
Then, you upload and publish your writings on your blog.
And, instantly, your writing is available throughout the world for people to read.
You feel a sense of “instant gratification”.
And you experience a sense of creative freedom since you have full control on what you want to write on your blog (without any external “editorial intervention”).
By removing the opaque barrier of editor/publisher between the writer and reader, blogging has enabled the reader to connect directly with the writer and facilitated mutual interaction between the two.
Blogging has proved to be a big boon to writers (who write because they want to “say something”).
If you are a writer, blogging is the best medium to satisfy your creative urge and demonstrate your literary skills to the world
Blogging is also of great benefit to readers as it has made so much material available for them to read free of cost.
Apart from blogs, there are many websites which contain a deluge of reading material in the digital space.
Many people have stopped reading printed paper and do all their reading from screens.
Technology has also progressed fast by leaps and bounds.
First you had ebook readers, and then you read on screens of PCs, Laptops and Tablets.
Now you have Smartphones.
Nowadays, people spend more time reading books on Smartphones than they do on tablets, ebook readers, PCs and laptops.
New sophisticated “eReader” applications for reading books on electronic screens are being developed in a big way to offer a superior reading experience on handheld electronic devices, especially mobile smartphones and “phablets”.
Handheld digital screens are edging out paper books
With increasing trend of reading on handheld digital screens (especially smartphones), paper books are being edged out of the market.
The shutting down of many bookstores (including the iconic Manney’s in Pune) and downsizing of bookshop chains (which restrict their stock to recent commercial fiction) bears testimony to the increasing ascendancy of the digital space vis-à-vis the traditional print medium.
During a discussion at the PILF, someone said that even the popular “secondhand” bookstores were winding up as more and more literary works were digitized and were freely available online on the internet.
What does this all mean for budding creative writers?
If you are a new writer then it is better to forget about “publishing” your writing in the print medium.
You will be better off if you start blogging your writing in the digital space.
At the recent Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) I met a columnist who used to write columns on topical issues for print newspapers.
He told me that owing to financial considerations, newspapers were becoming thinner, both smaller in size and with lesser number of pages.
Also more pages had to given to commercial features which financially sustain the newspaper like advertisements and sponsored features (“paid news”).
The result was that there was less space for content of columnists and writers.
So the columnist was repeatedly told to keep reducing the length of his article and make it shorter and shorter, till the word count became so less that it was not possible for him to properly express what he had to say.
Finally, things reached a stage where the e-version of the newspaper (in digital space) would carry his full article and the print version would be abridged to fit into the miniscule space available.
So now, the columnist has started blogging where he can write in an unrestricted and unrestrained manner.
Let me tell you about another friend who is a voracious reader.
He travels extensively all over the world as a part of his work and he spends a lot of his time waiting at airports, in hotels or in commuting to and fro to airports.
Earlier he used to carry a book to pass time during these long waits.
Now he carried his Smartphone – he can multitask, he can network, and also read a wide variety of things via the web since internet connectivity has become so easy and accessible.
He regularly reads my blog wherever he is in the world, and he can access literature and information from websites and also read a variety of blogs and writings of his interest.
Suppose you observe something which stirs emotion within you and you experience an urge to express your inner feelings and say something, tell others, so you write about it – say, a short story.
In the “good old” pre-internet days, you would send your piece of creative writing, your story, to a magazine for publication.
And then, the agonizing wait would begin.
Some decent editors would acknowledge your contribution, and then let you know of acceptance or otherwise.
Others would not even have the courtesy of acknowledging receipt of your story.
Sometimes, there would be so much delay by the time your story was published that you yourself would have lost interest or the story would have lost its topicality.
It was similar with a manuscript of your book, if you were a new budding author.
Everything depended on the whims and fancies of the all-powerful editors and publishers.
Most unsolicited manuscripts were consigned to the slush-pile and forgotten.
Hapless authors who wanted their writings to see the light of day had no choice but spend time and effort to make the rounds of editorial offices, swallow their self respect and be ready to be pushed around.
Not anymore.
The advent of blogging has changed everything.
Now, the moment you finish writing your story, you can upload it on your blog, and, hey presto, your story will ne instantaneously available worldwide for all to read.
Readers will connect with you, just like my friend can read my blog posts on his Smartphone, wherever he is in the world, the moment I post them on my blog.
It looks like: BLOGS ARE IN and BOOKS ARE OUT
Or to put it more aptly:
Is the end of traditional publishing industry imminent?
Maybe not the “end” but the decline of print medium has certainly started as more and more people start reading on convenient handheld digital screens rather than lug around cumbersome paper books.
There is a revolution brewing in publishing.
The ascendancy of digital space is an undeniable reality.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013 all rights reserved
Did you like this blog post?

I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:

If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse – his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

SMART HOME – A DISASTER – DIGIHOME – Faulty Design, Erratic Performance, Poor Customer Service, Waste of Money

April 10, 2012

Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: DIGIHOME – Faulty Design, Erratic Performance, Poor Customer Service, Waste of Money.

Well, home automation technology may work abroad or in cosmopolitan metros like Mumbai, but, as per my personal experience, digital smart intelligent home systems do not work properly in smaller places like Pune where there is erratic electricity supply. So, if you live in Pune, it would be advisable to avoid this new technology, at least till things improve.

Please click the link above to read my blog about my terrible experience with DIGIHOME (also pasted below for your convenience)

DIGIHOME – Faulty Design, Erratic Performance, Poor Customer Service, Waste of Money
The aim of DIGIHOME Solutions is to enhance the quality of life. But in actual fact DIGIHOME has made my life miserable as the system is malfunctioning ever since installation more than six months ago.
In brief, I would summarize the problems of the DIGIHOME System as follows:
1. Faulty Design and Installation – There is some basic flaw in the hardware and/or software that causes repeated malfunction of the system. Maybe the system is designed to work in Western Countries like USA and Europe where conditions are ideal and there are hardly any electricity power failures or fluctuations but the design is not appropriate or robust enough for Indian conditions. In India, and especially in Pune, where the electric power supply is most erratic and fails repeatedly many times a day, the DIGIHOME system trips, resets incorrectly, malfunctions and behaves in a most erratic manner. The installation has been done in a faulty manner and this has entailed a lot of rework. Wrong RFC Units were installed which had to be changed causing damage to the plaster and the placement of the door unit is incorrect, which serves no useful purpose. Basic Safety and Security features do not work or have not been installed, like main door latch security. It appears that there was apparently a lack of coordination between the builder Rohan Builders Pune and DIGIHOME Solutions during installation.
2. Erratic Performance – The performance of the system is most erratic. Sometimes the doorbell never rings, safety and security features are unreliable, intercom does not work, Local Console trips, system malfunctions, hooters and alarms keep sounding intermittently for no reason  – for example, since last night a continuous shrill noise is emanating from the Console which is most irritating.
3. Poor Customer Service – It seems that the technicians are not properly trained and some of them are quite clueless due to frequent turnover and new faces come every time. For the last six months a number of technicians are trying to repair the faults and make the system function properly but without success. They seem to be experimenting on a trial and error basis rather that diagnosing defects systematically. The response is quite lethargic too and there seems to be a rift between the “blue collar” and “white collar” employees.
In my opinion the DIGIHOME System is a waste of money and serves no useful purpose. In fact, it causes inconvenience and frustration due to erratic performance. There is no point investing in futuristic technologies which do not work in local conditions. Maybe the infrastructure in Pune (for example, uninterrupted reliable regulated electric power supply) is not geared up for advanced technologies or maybe these futuristic systems for “intelligent” homes like Digihome are not robust enough to work properly in prevailing local conditions.

Cognition and Information Processing

September 10, 2009



Cognition and Information







Part I – Cognitive Biases


The term cognition refers to a faculty for the processing of information. It is the process of perceiving, thinking, reasoning, analyzing and remembering.


Information is value or quality of a message or communication between a sender and a receiver. Data is observation of facts and information is a collection of data from which conclusions may be drawn, decisions taken and knowledge acquired.


Understanding Human Behaviour is sine qua non for the successful design and implementation of Soft Systems [Human Activity Systems], Management Information Systems and, indeed, all Information Processing Systems.


Human behaviour plays an important role in human information processing. It must be remembered that Information Systems are not installed in a vacuum; they are implanted into a living body, an organisation, a Human Activity Systems.


Human beings are being continuously exposed to an enormous number of stimuli. Cognition of all the stimuli is not possible and most stimuli are eliminated by a complex cognitive process. Even those perceived may be subject to cognitive biases.


A better understanding of human information processing enhances the usefulness of information technology and systems.




Here are a few salient cognitive biases which affect information formulation, acquisition, analysis and interpretation:


Adjustment and Anchoring – In situations of information overload there is a tendency to resort to the anchoring and adjustment heuristic and to rely too heavily, or “anchor” on a past reference or on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. For example, you may emphasize too much on the first piece of information you encounter.


Selective Perception – You accept / absorb only that information that is in consonance with, or confirms, your views, beliefs and values.


Wishful Thinking – You interpret information according to what might be pleasing to imagine [as you would like things to be] rather than according to actual evidence or rational logical reality.


Self-fulfilling Prophecy – is the tendency to engage in behaviors that elicit results which will (consciously or not) confirm our beliefs. You seek, acquire and analyze only that information that confirms or lends credibility to your views and values and ignore any information that contradicts your views or values. This is a “Confirmation bias” exemplified by an irrational tendency to search for, interpret or remember information in a way that confirms your preconceptions.


Ease of Recall – Information which can easily be recalled or accessed affects your perception of the likelihood of similar events occurring again. You rely too much on information that is easy to recall from memory.


Conservation – You reach premature conclusions on the basis of too small a sample of information.


Order Effects – The order in which information is presented to you affects information retention in your memory. Typically, the first piece of information presented [primacy effect] and the last piece of information presented [recency effect] assume undue importance in your mind.


Overconfidence – The greater the amount of data the more confident you are about the accuracy of the data.


Availability – you only rely on and use easily available information and ignore significant information that may not be so easily sourced.


Bandwagon Effect – you develop a tendency to believe information because many other people believe the same information. This may be a manifestation of Groupthink and you tend to “jump on the bandwagon”.


Hindsight – you are unable to think objectively if you receive information that a certain outcome has occurred and then told to ignore this information. With hindsight, outcomes that have occurred seem to have been inevitable; sometimes this is called the “I-knew-it-all-along” effect, the inclination to see past events as being predictable. You see relationships more easily in hindsight than in foresight.


Habit – You choose some information because it was previously accepted for a perceived similar purpose [precedence syndrome] or because of superstition.


Illusion of Control – You develop a tendency for to believe you can control or at least influence outcomes that you clearly cannot and hence you will seek, interpret, process and use information accordingly in an irrational manner.


Gambler’s Fallacy – You falsely assume that an unexpected occurrence of a “run” of some events enhances the probability of occurrence of an event that has not occurred. You develop a tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events (when in reality it is not so) and process information accordingly.


Déformation professionnelle – you tend to process information according to the conventions of your own profession, forgetting any broader point of view. You fall victim to the Law of the Hammer – “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” – this may happen owing to overspecialization or too straitjacketed professional training which hampers a liberal broad perspective.



[To be continued…]




Risk, Conflict, Uncertainty Management

September 11, 2008




The SHOR Paradigm


[Decision Management in Uncertainty, Risky and Conflicting Situations]








“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides”  Frederic Amiel




Decision-making is so pervasive that everyone, professionally or personally, is involved with making a variety of decisions.


In today’s fast-moving world, the timing of a decision is of paramount importance in many decision-making situations. In real life even the “perfect” decision may not be optimal if it is made too late. 


Information is a vital resource in decision-making. One of the most important characteristics of successful managers is the ability to make the correct decision when confronted with imperfect or insufficient information (i.e.) Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty.


In the context of decision-processing, two realms or domains of uncertainty are:


1. Information Input Uncertainty which creates the need for hypothesis generation and evaluation;


2. Consequence-of-Action Uncertainty which creates the need for option generation and evaluation.






A decision taxonomy: The Stimulus – Hypothesis – Options – Response (SHOR) paradigm, formulated by Wohl, is useful in such decision situations. The SHOR paradigm represents a qualitative, descriptive, model as distinct from a quantitative, predictive model, and comprises three primary decision-making task elements:

S: Stimulus Input Data Processing

H: Hypothesis Generation, Hypothesis Evaluation, Information Processing [What is?]

O: Option Generation, Option Evaluation, Decision-Making [What if?]

R: Response Output Action


The SHOR paradigm is basically an extension of the classical Stimulus – Response (SR) Paradigm of behaviourist psychology. The SHOR paradigm provides explicitly for the necessity to deal with information input uncertainty and consequence-of-action uncertainty, and helps us understand some of the peculiar human factors that affect the quality of the decision-making and answering questions such as:

What makes some decision-makers perform better than others, especially in placing high-value assets at risk, in business?

What are the sources and dimensions of “poor” performance?






Based on the SHOR Model, human errors in decision-making appear to lie in four domains:


(S) Stimulus: “I didn’t know…”

(H) Hypothesis: “I didn’t understand…”

(O) Options: “I didn’t consider…”

(R) Response: “I didn’t act…”


Stimulus based errors of the type “I didn’t know…” result from lack or inadequacy of information, the true inability to obtain information.


“I didn’t understand…” is the fundamental result of information input uncertainty, while “I didn’t consider…” is the product of consequence-of-action uncertainty.


It is possible to have accessed all significant information, to have developed the correct hypothesis and to have selected the best option and yet fail to take appropriate action. The two possible reasons for the “I didn’t act…” type of response error are:


1. Paralysis: This is a complete failure to act, the pathological ‘observation of an inevitable course’ without intervention. It is caused by an over-riding emotional struggle in which some internal factor is being placed in conflict with the course of action selected by the decision-maker. The final scene in the evergreen classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) exemplifies such a situation.


2. Misjudgement: The decision-maker correctly decides what to do but errs in either or both of the two dimensions – how [the specifics of the action] or when [the timing of the action].


Prediction of the critical consequences of inaction may be of some help in dealing with paralysis whilst the ability to perform sensitivity analyses may assist in alleviating misjudgement. 


Any Decision-Maker [and designers of decision aids] must address the four cardinal types of errors epitomized by the SHOR paradigm: “I didn’t know…”, “I didn’t understand…”, “I didn’t consider…” and “I didn’t act…”







In the context of decision-making in uncertainty, the conflict theory paradigm developed by Janis and Mann may be apt. This paradigm postulates five patterns of coping behaviour which tends to occur in such situations:


1. Unconflicted Adherence in which the uncertain, or risk, information is ignored and the decision-maker complacently decides to continue whatever he has been doing.


2. Unconflicted Change to a new course of action, where the decision-maker uncritically adopts whichever new course of action is most salient, obvious or strongly recommended.


3. Defensive Avoidance in which the decision-maker evades conflict by procrastinating, shifting responsibility to someone else, or constructing wishful rationalisations and remaining selectively inattentive to corrective information.


4. Hypervigilance wherein the decision-maker searches frantically for a way out of the dilemma and impulsively seizes upon a hastily contrived solution that seems to promise immediate relief, overlooking the full range of consequences of his choice because of emotional excitement, repetitive thinking and cognitive constriction. In its most extreme form hypervigilance is referred to as “panic”.


5. Concerned Vigilance in which the decision-maker optimally processes pertinent information, generates and evaluates hypotheses and options before selecting a response as characterised by the SHOR paradigm.



In many real-life situations a decision-maker cannot always keep waiting until the entire information-input and consequence-of-action conditions are known a priori with certainty. In most cases there is no such thing as “perfect” certainty.


If a single most important characteristic is crucial to a decision-maker in any field, it is the ability to make optimal decisions in conditions of uncertainty. Qualitative descriptive models like the SHOR paradigm may prove useful in such situations.


To quote Frederic Amiel once again: “The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides”.





Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008

Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.




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