Who do we make good decisions with?

Every day, whenever we make decisions, be it in our professional or personal lives, we are faced with complicated challenges that we cannot always master alone, but manage rather more effectively in a team. Dario Blanco Fernandez, doctoral student at the doctoral school DECIDE (Decision-making in a digital environment), seeks to find out how people collaborate when it comes to solving tasks together and reaching (good) decisions.

In his work, Dario Blanco Fernandez pays particular attention to team constellations: What composition must a group of people have in order to arrive at (good) decisions? How do the decisions of an individual influence the decisions made by others? Until recently, literature on the subject has assumed that changes in group constellations lead to poorer performance. One of the aims of Blanco Fernandez’ research is to find out what effects the instability of the constellations has on the performance when solving complex tasks.

Blanco Fernandez works primarily with simulation models. The basis is the NK model, which has its roots in biology, but can also be applied to issues in the field of organisational sciences. “So, we take models and simulate them on the computer using a variety of variables”, Dario Blanco Fernandez explains. When asked whether there are plans for tests with real people, he tells us: “Not yet, but maybe in the future.” Preliminary results show that the reorganisation of innovative and highly efficient teams can be advantageous in certain situations.

Dario Blanco Fernandez studied Economics at the Universidad de Oviedo and at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain. Semesters abroad took him to the Humboldt University of Berlin and Maastricht University. For the past year, he has been conducting his research at the DECIDE doctoral college at the University of Klagenfurt. The Spaniard appreciates his work in the world of academia because of the high degree of flexibility, and he also informs us: “When I carry out research, I have the feeling that I am doing something for myself. I have the impression that the more I know, the more I can grow as a person.” Originally from a small town himself, Dario Blanco Fernandez enjoys living in tranquil Klagenfurt and hopes to get to know his new home better over the next two years – with fewer Corona-related restrictions.

For Dario Blanco Fernandez, there is still much to be learned about human behaviour in decision-making and problem-solving. He is convinced: “It is important to understand how we behave. If we know more about it, we can make better decisions“.

A few words with … Dario Blanco Fernandez

What would you be doing now, if you hadn’t become a scientist?

I would probably be working on the public administration. I have previous experience there and it was very pleasant, although not what I wanted to do in the long term.

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

It is difficult for them, because I am the first person in the family that is working on research. Most of my family has worked or is working in mining or construction and it’s a completely different world from mine. Nevertheless, they are fully supporting and willing to understand better what is that I am doing.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office in the morning?

I always make a tea to start the day with a fresh mind.

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

Yes, I do. I think it is necessary for everyone to disconnect from work from time to time. It allows you to realize that there are more things in life and to come back to work with fresh new perspectives and ideas.

What makes you furious?

Not many things, actually. Related with my work, I would say nothing so far.

And what calms you down?

Whenever I feel stressed, I like to move my mind completely to other things once I am out of the office. Reading, doing some sport or playing videogames allows me to do that.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

I find this very difficult to answer. I believe that science is not a matter of the achievements of individuals, but a collective process of growth and improvement over the course of history. I firmly believe that science progress because us, researchers, are “standing on the shoulders of giants”.

What are you afraid of?

Right now? Definitely another lockdown!

What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to progress in my research and to improve my understanding of economics and human behaviour. Is a process that will take time and probably never end, but it makes it even more interesting!