Heuristics as tales from the field: the problem of scope

  • Simone GuerciniEmail author


The scope of a heuristic decision making rule is a product of its fit to the context, the extension to which a heuristic can be applied successfully. To achieve effective outcomes, decision makers may use a few heuristics with large scopes or many with narrow scopes. Through a directed review of the literature combined with ethnographic research, this paper contributes to the debate on the problem of scope in three types of heuristics, namely, multipliers, thresholds, and calends. The scope of heuristic rules can be explored from different aspects, including the field in which a heuristic rule is applied and specific parameters that are used in a heuristic decision making process. The three types of heuristic rules we analyze were encountered in our ethnographic research, that was based on phenomenological interviews and observations. For these heuristics we discuss their scopes in through to the following organizing structures: (1) the exploration of the adaptive tool-box, (2) the role of ethnographic methodologies, and (3) the categorization of heuristics.


Scope of heuristics Ethnographic research Multipliers Thresholds Calends Adaptive toolbox 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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