Okay, so I'm currently working on my MBA and have just (hours ago) completed a course on critical thinking and decision-making. Armed with this new training, and my limited knowledge of the Bears' current situation, I will make an attempt at working through the details of how Emery (or anyone in Halas Hall) should be assessing the next moves.
Let's start by defining the business: The Chicago Bears are a business. They exist to make money. Their primary product and revenue driver is entertainment, specifically an NFL football team which generates revenue through ticket sales and television earnings. Secondary revenue comes through merchandising. Successful teams tend to generate more revenue, but consumers (fans) do continue to consume the product during times when the team is not successful.
Now moving on to the issue at hand: The Chicago Bears have been moderately successful under the current management team. However, the team has not met the expectations of upper management in terms of on-the-field success. The current coach has led the team for nearly a decade posting an overall winning record, three playoff appearances and a loss in the Super Bowl. Successes by teams in nearby markets has eroded the reach of the Bears' market base - to the north, the Green Bay Packers, and to the southeast, the Indianapolis Colts have had recent success and are growing their fan-bases in areas that have traditionally been Bears' markets. Thus, the Bears need to improve their performance in an attempt to retain and grow their own markets and increase revenue.
Defining the decision: There are two ways to increase profit: Increase revenue, or decrease cost. In this instance, the Bears upper management must decide if making a change in coaching will increase the on-field performance and, therefore increase revenue. The question is: Should the Bears retain Lovie Smith or fire him and bring in a new coach?
Mitigating Factors: Cost - Lovie's contract and salary are a sunk cost, it is essentially already spent. A new coach will add to the cost of running the team, so hiring a new coach must produce revenues to offset that cost. But an additional cost may be relevant. A new coach will also want to change the strategic direction of the team and will definitely need new players. New players in the free agent market are an increased cost, and such turnover may impact revenue in the short-term. Available options - Before deciding to move on, it must be determined that there are better options available. This year may have a very high number of teams searching for a new head coach, are there any candidates that will potentially be a better option? I believe that Emery is making this assessment right now.
Making the decision: To logically process the decision, Emery must first decide if firing Lovie will improve team performance and by how much this will generate new revenue. If he determines that a new coach is available and will improve the team, he has to assess if that change will generate more revenue over time than maintaining Lovie will generate. A short term drop in revenue may be acceptable if there is a better outcome over time. If he decides to keep Lovie, then Emery must determine other actions that are available to improve the team. This includes changing assistant coaches, identifying players that will improve performance, etc...
This is not a pure football decision, it is a business decision. It may be that Lovie is not a good enough coach to win the Super Bowl, but as a business, the Bears may not care. He fields a moderately successful team that is able to keep a strong fan base and generate a stable revenue. Firing Lovie is not only a risk in term of team performance, it is a risk in terms of revenue. Change is only justifiable if there is a certain level of confidence that it will bring improvement and increased revenue.