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In the aftermath of the worst earthquake in Haiti in two centuries, relief agencies are desperately racing against time to assist those that need help. However, veteran relief workers characterize the situation as “especially complicated” because all key influence factors have been affected by the disaster. There is no working government. There are no communications. The main ocean port is damaged and unusable. The airport has limited capacity and no fuel. Relief workers and supplies are queuing up with no way to make them available to the people that need them most. This case is rich with opportunities for discussing a number of management topics, but the focus here will be on decision making. Be advised that images and video associated with the stories are graphic.


  1. Consider the scope and magnitude of the problems in Haiti. What type of thinking is needed to solve these problems? While one form stands out, can you argue for all three types (i.e., systematic, intuitive, multidimensional)?
  2. Describe the structured and unstructured aspects of this problem. What type of managerial decision should be made here? Does the fact that the problems stem from an earthquake, of which there have been many in the past, make decision making easier?
  3. Given what has been said about the general state of Haiti, what kind of decision environment exists? Beyond short-term relief efforts, how will this environment affect the Haiti government as it tries to rebuild the country?

SOURCES: N. King, “Aid Efforts Face Obstacles in Quake-Ravaged Capital,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

See also C. Forelle & J. de Cordoba, “Haitian Rescue Stymied Amid Chaos,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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