Decision-Making in Pluralist, Hierarchical and Consensus Structure

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Hierarchy Pages: 10 (2376 words) Published: October 16, 2014

Decision Making Process . Introduction
Robbins (1998: 103) states that decisions are choices made from two or more alternatives. Decisions are made as a reaction to a problem. That is, there is a discrepancy between the current state of affairs and some desired state requiring consideration of alternative courses of action. This however requires any person in the position where he/she must make decisions to consider some aspects regarding decision-making. This not only includes relevant information but also the application of knowledge and/or skills to use this information to realize a decision. Decision making and its processes are well seated in our bones. It is as old as humankind. Making a decision is fundamental and universal: in one way or the other, we do make one. In other words, anything that we do consciously or unconsciously is the result of some decision. As the saying, “He, who fails to decide, decides to fail”. This common saying sums it: the importance of decision-making in our daily lives. As with individuals, so it is with political organizations – states. States also need to make decisions in order not only to assure their existence but also to promote the welfare of their citizens. States that fail to make decisions also make decisions to fail. Decisions can be strong or weak, good or bad, swift or slow, or short, medium or long term. The structure of the state or political system depends much on the leadership and decision-making structure. The political system of states can range from being authoritarian, hierarchical, centralized, closed to open, diffuse, decentralized or democratic. Steinberg (2003) discusses (Moody, 1983:1) that it is often asked if institutions have any rules and regulations regarding the processes by which the required objectives, policies, and strategies are arrived at. For a decision to be arrived at, it has to undergo a series of processes. The quality of a decision, more often than not depends on the processes as well as the structure of the organizational entity. Several factors such as the environment or climate in which decisions are made can be considered vital in decision-making. Decisions in the closed, hierarchical environment tend to differ in effectiveness and efficiency from an open, pluralistic one. Therefore, decision-making processes must factor in all the factors concerned. The quality of decision-making in an administration also much depends on selecting proper goals and identifying means for achieving them. With good integration of behavioral and structural factors, politicians can increase the probability that high-quality decisions are made (Gibson, Ivancevich and Donnelly 1994: 17). The quality of decisions not only increases the probability of good decisions, but it also establishes the starting point of effective decisions. To make a good decision there is the need to know the problem, the need and purpose of the decision, the criteria of the decision, stakeholders as well as the groups affected and the alternative actions to be taken. If a decision has no effect on the general public and lack collective action, then it cannot be said to be political. Types of Decisions

According to Dearlove (1998: 16) decisions can be categorized in two: (1) operational decisions – those concerned with the day-to-day running of the institution and (2) strategic decisions – those concerned with organizational policy and direction over a longer period of time. Gibson, Ivancevich and Donnelly (1994: 606) also grouped decisions into two types: (1) Programmed decision which states that, “if a particular situation occurs often, a routine procedure usually can be worked out to solve it. Thus, decisions are programmed to the extent that problems are repetitive and routine and a definite procedure has been developed for handling them” and (2) Non-programmed decision as...

References: .
Birkland, T. A. 2001. “An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Model of Public Policy Making’. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.
Dearlove, D. 1998. Key management decisions: tools and techniques of the executive decision-maker. London: Pitman publishing.
Gibson, J., Ivanchevich, J., Donnelly, J. & Konopaske, R. 2006. Organizations: Behavior, structure, processes. 12th ed. McGraw Hill
Moody, P.E. 1983. Decision-making: proven methods for better decisions. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Robbins, S. 1998 Organisational Behaviour: Concepts, Controversies and Applications. 8th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Rowe, A.J., Boulgarides, J.D. 1992. Managerial decision-making: a guide to successful business decisions. New York: Macmillan.
Steinberg, P. W. 2005. ‘Decision-making Styles within Different Hierarchical levels in the South African Military health Service’. Faculty of Economics, Technikon, Pretoria.
Wilson, L. 2011. ‘The End of Hierarchies and the Alternatives’. The Centre for Development.
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