Consequences of Decisions

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You also need to consider second and third level consequences. If for example, you are working on the issue of ghost soldiers, you could conclude that solving this problem will lead to a more effective institution.This would be your first level consequence and very often, the practitioner’s analysis would end there. However, if you do probe further, you might discover that removing ghost soldiers from payrolls would mean that you are depriving someone of his or her income, which is a second level consequence. And if there is no viable alternative in place, this person could resort to violence or robbery, thereby increasing the level of insecurity which is a third level consequence and exerting additional pressure on an already overstretched police service thus, a fourth level consequence.

A different perspective of dealing with ghost soldiers, could take it even a step further regarding security. When working on this issue, you are targeting power structures and income sources for corrupt officials. This might even lead to a coup and thus a greater insecurity for the country.

This does not however mean that you should not work on eliminating ghost soldiers. Rather, it implies that you need to be aware of the underlying causes for the existence of the phenomenon and the possible negative consequences of your actions and identify strategies to mitigate risks.

On this slide the possible consequences of decisions will be highlighted, including the second and third level consequences.

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