Heuristics – Definition

Cite this article as:"Heuristics – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 17, 2019, last accessed October 21, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/heuristics-definition/.

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Heuristics Definition

Heuristics are a form a predisposition to a given circumstance. Some would describe it as a sort of bias resulting from prior exposure or experience. Stereotyping is a function of heuristics.

In business, heuristics often refers to an approach of solving a problem whereby pliable solutions to a problem are discovered within a short space of time and through the use of shortcuts. Heuristics are problem-solving shortcuts often used in the exploration of solutions when working with complex data. Heuristics are used when making quick decisions, the decisions made or solutions provided may however not be perfect or rational but good enough for current problem.

A Little More on What are Heuristics

Given the intervention of technology in diverse industries, there has been an influx of data which makes work more complex. Heuristics methods have also been introduced to discover ‘good enough’ solutions for complex data. Heuristics entail the use of practical methods when it comes to making quick decisions or provide solutions needed to reach an immediate goal. Heuristic has its origin from Greek and it means ‘to discover’. The decisions reached through heuristic might not necessarily be the choicest or excellent, but they are decisions needed to accomplish the present goal.

Why Use Heurisics?

One of the strong points of using a heuristics approach is that it aids timely decision making, heuristics techniques are flexible and used when prompt decisions are needed to be made. Heuristics techniques are used in solving problems or proffering solutions. Processes in heuristics techniques include a trial and error process, guesswork, analysing past data and other processes. Generally, heuristic techniques are simple enough and provide good-enough solutions.

Below are the disadvantages of using heuristics;

  • Oftentimes, an heuristic approach does not give an optimal or rational result.
  • Errors are bound to occur in the final result given that many of heuristic processes are prone to biases and prejudice.
  • Insufficient data can be used to make quick decisions through heuristic techniques.
  • Inaccurate decision and imprecise solution can be given.
  • Certain heuristic methods entail imitation which might not produce excellent results.

Representativeness Heuristics

There are several heuristics techniques, Representatives Heuristics is one of the methods used often. This is a shortcut method to problem-solving that focuses on historical events that are similar to present situations. Many analysts use representative heuristics to make prompt decisions especially when they are faced with complex data. This approach entails reviewing past events and how they represent similar parts of the current situation so that a quick decision can be reached.

References for “Heuristics


https://www.verywellmind.com › Psychology › Theories › Cognitive Psychology

https://www.investopedia.com › Investing › Investing Strategy


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