Strategic Decision Making from Historical Events

Why Kennedy’s Decision succeeded while Carter’s failed?

Kennedy succeeded in settling the Cuban Missile Crisis because he had an established democratic government, unlike Carter, who sought political advice from religious leaders who were little versed with political knowledge. Additionally, Kennedy emerged victorious because he took his time to understand the base cause of the problem before enacting a solution. Carter engaged in hit-run tactics and failed to analyze the problem. Also, Kennedy’s regime was representative and always consulted diplomats and the citizens to gather necessary data before deciding. Carter preferred terror instead of diplomatic means. The tactics mentioned above enabled Kennedy’s decision to succeed while Carter failed.

free essay typer



 Type of Decision

            Kennedy’s strategy was a category I decision. He involved several routine actions and recurring decisions to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy had to employ several investigative actions using Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He also sought diplomatic advice and several tactics. This asserts that his decision was not rational but entailed several routine exercises.

 Was the decision-making open or closed?

            In the Cuban missile crisis case, the decision-making was open. The open decision-making approach involves several participatory, transparent, and people-centered exercises (Dobusch et al., 2017). Kennedy’s power was representative and engaged in open diplomatic decisions before arriving at a certain decision.  For example, when he decided to adopt the naval blockade, he consulted the diplomats and announced his decision to the U.S citizen.  In the Iranian hostage case, Carter adopted a closed decision-making model. Closed decision-making is not inclusive and participatory (Dobusch et al., 2017). Carter’s regime represented few people from Iran.

 Constraints Realized

             The major constraint in both cases was the appropriate approach to adopt without igniting wider conflicts. Cuba feared that an international conflict could erupt through the nuclear missiles and threaten the whole world’s peace. In the Iranian hostage, manipulating citizens to hostage could result in more conflicts.

The Political Climate

            The Cuban crisis was characterized by a period of political turmoil.  The Cuban government was ready to stop the U.S dominance in their economy and staged military pressures and economic blockade. In Iranian crisis was a period of terror characterized by the loss of lives.

 JFK advantage over Carter

            JFK was a diplomatic and charismatic leader who sought people’s opinions and informed them of his decision before taking a major step. On the other hand, Carter compromised the people’s will, had a poor relationship with the congress, and resolved a problem from his logical view.


 A rescue Plan

            I would employ an open decision-making strategy to enhance transparency and involve diplomatic advice from political experts. This would allow understanding of the base cause of Iranian hostage and develop a suitable approach without overreliance on sole logical views. 

Type of Decision

             In the Cuban Missile case, the type C decision model was adopted. Open decision-making approach was adopted as the President informed the citizens of his decisions, resulting to the end of the nuclear war. In the Iranian hostage, the type B approach was used. The approach sought had a high degree of uncertainty, which led to Carter’s approach being deemed unsuccessful.

JFK Computational strategy and Carter’s Judgmental strategy

            JFK adopted a computational strategy. Through the strategy, he understood that nuclear war subject the lives of the majority to risk at the expense of a missile site in Turkey. His diplomats advised him to employ peaceful tactics that eased the tension and pressured the Soviets to avert the missile.  Carter had to use the judgmental strategy because he did not take time to understand the base cause of the problem and relied on a militant regime that was non-representative; thus, he was uncertain about the crisis.

 Conjunctive Model

            Carter adopted a conjunctive strategy in the Iranian hostage. He relied only on the religious zealots’ decisions and shunned the citizens’ opinions, and he was willing to hold them hostage.

Reference Dobusch, L., Dobusch, L., & Müller-Seitz, G. (2017). Closing for the Benefit of Openness? The case of Wikimedia’s open strategy process. Organization Studies40(3), 343-370.