Identifying Decision Traps

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ASSESSMENT 2B: Identifying Decision Traps

Decision Making Exercise 2


We all remember the hot summer(winter in Australia) when we heard the news that Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy during the terrible ‘sub-prime meltdown’(Investopedia 2009). As a giant among investment banks with a history over 150 years,Lehman Brothers suddenly collapsed in few months. How did Lehman Brothers go bankrupt? Why did it happen? Are there any methods that could have been used to avoid the doomsday? These questions will be discussed below.

Case study overview

In early 2007, with the stock reached $86.18(Investopedia 2009), Lehman Brothers seemed to have done a great job. Therefore ,the company underestimated the risks posed by rising ‘home delinquencies’(Terry 2008) and overestimated the risk-enduring capacity of the US housing market. One real estate investment broker described Lehman as ‘the real estate A.T.M(Terry 2008).Then Lehman’s share price went into a tailspin when the dark days came in August 2007. Dramatically, at the end of 2007, Lehman’s share price rebounded, as ‘global equity markets reached new highs and prices for fixed-income assets staged a temporary rebound’(Terry 2008).However, Lehman failed to seize the chance to ‘trim its massive mortgage portfolio’(Investopedia 2009). According to the Investpedia (2009), the news was a deathblow to Lehman, leading to a 45% plunge in the stock and a 66% spike incredit-default swaps on the company's debt. With the company's hedge fund clients began pulling out, Lehman completely went bankrupt on September 15(Investopedia 2009).

Critical analysis of decision-making traps

Lehman was trapped into two obvious decision-making traps: overconfidence trap and status quo trap. We begin with an abstract definition of overconfidence trap and status quo trap. An overconfidence trap is a situation that…...

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