Decision-making is an essential aspect of modern management. It is a primary function of management. A manager's major job is sound/rational decision-making. He takes hundreds of decisions consciously and subconsciously. Decision-making is the key part of manager's activities. Decisions are important as they determine both managerial and organizational actions. A decision may be defined as "a course of action which is consciously chosen from among a set of alternatives to achieve a desired result." It represents a well-balanced judgment and a commitment to action.
It is rightly said that the first important function of management is to take decisions on problems and situations. Decision-making pervades all managerial actions. It is a continuous process. Decision-making is an indispensable component of the management process itself.
Means and ends are linked together through decision-making. To decide means to come to some definite conclusion for follow-up action. Decision is a choice from among a set of alternatives. The word 'decision' is derived from the Latin words de ciso which means 'a cutting away or a cutting off or in a practical sense' to come to a conclusion. Decisions are made to achieve goals through suitable follow-up actions. Decision-making is a process by which a decision (course of action) is taken. Decision-making lies embedded in the process of management.
According to Peter Drucker, "Whatever a manager does, he does through decision-making". A manager has to take a decision before acting or before preparing a plan for execution. Moreover, his ability is very often judged by the quality of decisions he takes. Thus, management is always a decision-making process. It is a part of every managerial function. This is because action is not possible unless a firm decision is taken about a business problem or situation.
This clearly suggests that decision-making is necessary in planning, organising, directing, controlling