Source: adapted from A. Pred (1967) Behavior and Location: Foundations
for a Geographic and Dynamic Location Theory. Part I, Lund 1967; Part
II, Lund 1969. [The Royal University of Lund, Department of Geography
Studies in Geography Ser.B (Human Geography) Nos. 27 & 28 / C.W.K.Gleerup,
Behavioral Approach to Location
Although location decisions often appear to be based on a
set of well defined criteria, the behavioral approach to location considers that decision makers
(e.g. a corporation or a potential store owner) are not entirely rational.
This potential inability to be fully rational is based on two
criteria. The first is the availability of locational
since all the suitable information required to make an optimal
decision may not be fully available or expensive and time
consuming to acquire. The second is the ability to use the information on hand to make a locational
decision, which considers factors such as skills and experience.
This is the reason why many locational recommendations are done
by specialized consultants that are familiar with the regulatory
and socioeconomic context of a region.
To consider the complexity of behavioral factors in
locational decisions, Pred (1967) developed a representation
based upon a behavioral matrix where one axis represented the
available information and the other the capacity to use it. This construct takes into consideration that even if
a lot of information
may be available, this information may not be necessarily used properly or could even
be analyzed incorrectly. Some decision makers are thus better than others.
This representation assumes that most locational decision are not optimal,
but acceptable, that is profitable. A profitable location is
within a spatial margin of profitability, which is simply a set
of locations (often conterminous) where the incomes derived from an
activity are superior to the incurred costs of that location (rent,
The above figure shows a behavioral matrix composed of a series
of potential outcome in regard to a locational decision. The "Homo eoconomicus"
(cell Cnn) is a perfectly informed individual having access to all the
available information. The locational decisions of such an individual
are optimal, implying the choice of a location has the highest profitability.
Decision makers having good capacity to use and good availability of
information (C35 and C54) would make a locational decision within the
margins of profitability. Another decision maker (C22) could even be
"lucky" because in spite of poor capacity to use and availability of
information, the locational choice turns out to be profitable.
Even if Pred's behavioral matrix is almost impossible to apply to
the real world, it underlines the possibility of sub-optimal locational
decisions, which is a good reflection of a complex reality.
Uncertainty is implicitly assumed because the decision maker is
not certain that a locational choice would be profitable (within
the spatial margins of profitability) until the choice has been
made and figures about income and expenses become available.
Even if all the necessary information was at hand, it is not
guaranteed that the chosen location will be profitable.