Ideological and Pragmatic Decision-making in Networks
Pragmatic decision makers adjust their view and their decisions to the state of the world. Ideological decision makers follow a guiding principle making decisions that do not change with circumstances. Either philosophy can be successful. This study explores a group of virtual agents, some of whom follow each philosophy, to explore the network conditions under which one decision-making approach outperforms the other. Agents meet and make decisions over time, but they interact solely with their neighbors who are defined by the topology of the network into which these agents are embedded. We show that certain types of networks favor pragmatic decision makers while other topologies give an edge to ideological agents. These results suggest that the success of ideologues or the success of pragmatics may be due, in part, to the type of organization in which these agents are located. In other words, the structure of some organizations may foster ideological steadfastness while other organizations may encourage pragmatism
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