Liang, Y., Baral, A., Shahandashti, M., & Ashuri, B. (2022). Availability Heuristic in Construction Workforce Decision-Making amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Empirical Evidence and Mitigation Strategy. Journal of Management in Engineering, 38(5), 04022046.

The decision-making situations of the construction workforce have been drastically altered since the outbreak of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The new situation, where decision-makers strive to promptly respond to the unprecedented crisis to sustain essential construction operations without compromising the safety and health of workers, implies the presence of an availability heuristic. An availability heuristic has the potential to bring unconscious, systematic errors to the decision-making process. This study creates a decision-making experiment to empirically examine the presence of an availability heuristic and the effectiveness of a corresponding mitigation strategy in construction workforce decision-making under COVID-19 uncertainties. The experiment was conducted among students in the construction program from April 2021 to May 2021. Results show that students tend to support the management improvement ideas that fall into their most familiar fields. Providing information on other options against the option with the easiest recalled instances has been proven effective in terms of reducing the presence of the heuristic. Moreover, the results show that the presence of the heuristic is robust and unspecific to the level of education and years of work experience. The primary contributions of this research are (1) identifying the presence of the availability heuristic in construction workforce decision-making under COVID-19 uncertainties, (2) testing the effectiveness of a mitigation strategy against the availability heuristic, (3) bridging the rational decision-making with actual choices, (4) introducing the approach of decision-making experiments for future studies in construction engineering and management (CEM), and (5) suggesting an integrated perspective taking advantage of both positivism and constructivism for CEM decision-making. It is anticipated that policy makers can benefit from this study by enhancing the understanding of construction workforce decision-making amid a pandemic. This enhanced understanding can help to design effective strategies to promote the normal operation of the essential construction industry and ensure the safety and health of approximately 7.6 million employees in the construction industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and similar crises in the future.