Critically discuss the statement “Decision making is a simple process, collect all the available data and make a decision that is in the best interest of the organisation!!”
GSN401 Assessment No. 2
The following critical discussion concludes that it is not appropriate to define “Decision making is a simple process, collect all the available data and make a decision that is in the best interest of the organisation!!” Decision making has far reaching implications and the situation must be fully understood and supported by a great deal of planning, organising, leading and controlling. Managers must consider the decision environment (level of risk), be able to think critically, understand responsibilities and accountabilities, consider implications, perform ethically, avoid past problems and to learn from successes. The discussion analyses the roles and functions of modern managers, focusing specifically on decision making processes. The discussion commences with a definition of decision making, followed by a description of the available modes, methods and approaches available for performing the decision process and framework to assist in identifying the optimal approach. The discussion then introduces the idea of scope of the decision situation and who in the organisation should be involved in the process. The focus then shifts to defining the individual steps required in the decision making process, exploring each of these steps and providing some examples of problems that have occurred. The concept of a simple [decision] process is defined, but promptly discounted as not being relevant to the topic. The Classical Management Functions are next discussed including relevance of the decision making process to these functions. The three levels of strategy are next introduced together with the responsibilities and accountabilities of managers in this context. Leadership qualities are briefly explored with emphasis on the social responsibilities of leaders. Finally, the concepts of decision environment and critical thinking are introduced in the context of decision making.
Decision making can be defined as the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, and choosing among alternative courses of action (Wood et al, 2004); or similarly as the process of selecting from several choices products or ideas, and taking action (decision-makingconfidence.com, nd). Wood et al (2004) define three basic modes of decision making being (1) individual decisions made by individuals on behalf of the group, (2) consultative decisions made by an individual after seeking input from members of a group and (3) group decisions made by all members of the group, ideally with consensus being achieved. Edgar Schein (1988) has defined six methods by which group decisions may occur being (1) decision by lack of response, (2) decision by authority rule, (3) decision by minority rule, (4) decision by majority rule, (5) decision by consensus and (6) decision by unanimity. The foundation coalition (2011) defines similar methods as does the Edge-Leadership Consulting Group (2009). The above demonstrates there are myriad approaches to decision making and it imperative managers know which approach is appropriate. The optimal approach may not always be obvious and knowing which approach to take will be a function of experience, organisational guidelines, current requirements, individual boundaries (limits of autonomy) and similar influences. Needless to say, frameworks are in existence to assist managers in choosing the best approach, one such framework being suggested by Vroom et al. (1974). These frameworks act as a flow chart, with questions being asked at each node to determine the key issues involved (eg. time constraints, quality requirements, organisational impact), with sufficient nodes (or questions) to...