Indecision and the construction of self


Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

November 2014, vol. 125, n°2, pp.162-174

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Keywords: Indecision, Identity, Decision-making

This paper proposes a theoretically grounded definition of indecision and considers one of indecision’s potential functions. It argues that, despite a reputation as mere choice pathology, indecision may play an important role in identity formation and maintenance. In particular, the contemplations and conversations characteristic of indecision may help construct, discover, or affirm who one is, even if ostensibly they are intended only to clarify what one should do. In addition to positing an underexplored function of indecision, the possibility that indecision facilitates identity development suggests that concentrated identity work need not be an explicit objective or even a process of which one is cognizant; it can be an unwitting byproduct of frustrated attempts at choice