Decision Making

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Decision making can be regarded as an outcome of mental processes (cognitive process) leading to the selection of a course of action among several alternatives. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.

This paper seeks to answer the question that ‘not all managers are effective decision makers’ and to do this effectively it explains the decision making process, the scientific approach to decision making in a complex organization, ways to improve decision making as well as the mistakes that are commonly made by managers when making decisions.


Decision making is a core part of a manager’s job, there’s just no getting around it. Yet so many managers, who are thoughtful and analytical, completely miss the boat when it comes to decision making. This is unacceptable behavior from any professional manager, particularly when it comes to the really big decisions. Hiring, large purchases, organizational restructuring, etc, are all places where structured decision making ought to come into play. The big problem is that, although good decision making methods and tools are readily available, these skills generally are not taught.

Many people still remain in the bondage of self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is a person's inability to make his/her own decisions. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without wishing to have been told what to do by something or somebody else.

Good decision-making brings about a better life. It gives you some control over your life. In fact, many frustrations with oneself are caused by not being able to use one's own mind to understand the decision problem, and the courage to act upon it.

A bad decision may force you to make another one, as Harry Truman said, "Whenever I make a bum decision, I go out and make another one." Remember, if the first button of one's coat is wrongly buttoned, all the rest will be crooked.

A good decision is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. One must appreciate the difference between a decision and an objective. A good decision is the process of optimally achieving a given objective.

When decision making is too complex or the interests at stake are too important, quite often we do not know or are not sure what to decide. In many instances, we resort to informal decision support techniques such as tossing a coin, asking an oracle, visiting an astrologer, etc. However formal decision support from an expert has many advantages.

Rational decisions are often made unwillingly, perhaps unconsciously. We may start the process of consideration. It is best to learn the decision-making process for complex, important and critical decisions.

The decision-maker's style and characteristics can be classified as: The thinker, the cowboy (snap and uncompromising), Machiavellian (ends justifies the means), the historian (how others did it), the cautious (even nervous), etc. For example, political thinking consists in deciding upon the conclusion first and then finding good arguments for it.


1) What is the goal you wish to achieve?

Select the goal that satisfies your "values". Everyone (including organizations) has a system of values by which one lives one's life. The values must be expressed on a numerical and measurable scale. This is needed in order to find what is your values' rank. The question "what do I want?" can be unbearably difficult (because of the conflicts among our desires) that we often can hardly bear to ask it. Goals follow from the values, and from our capacity (i.e., our personal abilities, and physical resources) to achieve goals. On the other hand, if there were...
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