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This overview of the decision making process was prepared by Grace Nabasabala while a major of Health Education and Promotion in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Southeastern Louisiana University.
This article talks about decisions and the process involved while making these decisions. There are eight steps in the decision making process that help managers in making a decision about a problem. These include: identifying a problem, identifying the decision criteria, allocating of weights to criteria, developing alternatives, analyzing alternatives, selecting an alternative, implementing an alternative and follow up to ensure effectiveness of the decision. Understanding these steps helps us deal with everyday problems. In order to become better decision makers, we need to learn from our mistakes, restructure thoughts and be rational when faced with difficult decisions.
The Idea in a Nutshell
Decision making is the ability of a person to mentally make decisions between several alternatives. People make decisions in every step of life, either consciously or unconsciously. Decisions have long existed as life itself. In the early century, people relied on dreams, poetic wisdom and instruction from leaders or prophets. However, technology today has made it easy for people to research information.
Every decision has a consequence. There are two types of decisions, simple and complex decisions. Simple decisions require routine procedures and less effort while complex decisions are uncertain and complex in nature and may require a lot of risk. Decision-making is important for management and leadership. That is why managers need to understand the decision-making process especially while dealing with complex situations.
The Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the Decision Making Process
- The decision making process is a reflective thinking approach that was developed by the philosopher John Dewey in the 1900’s. The first step is identifying the problem. Since every decision starts with a problem, we need to understand its nature or complexity. We can also consider what needs to be addressed and the importance of reaching a desired outcome.
- Gather information to help in solving the problem. Understanding the cost, risks and outcomes may influence people to make rational decisions when faced with relevant information. Managers must select appropriate criteria which may include the use of technology like the Decision Support System to help compile useful information to solve the problem.
- Assess the situation. Develop a ranking system that possesses a valued weight to identify each criterion by importance. The higher the ranking means the more importance the criteria and vice versa.
- Develop alternatives to come up with a possible option or solution. Brainstorm or write down all the possible alternatives and choices. These alternatives are only ideas and not tested.
- Analyze alternatives to select the best option. Consider, compare the pros and cons, and test the alternatives. Evaluate the value of each alternative using a decision matrix. Each alternative must be ranked in order of value.
- Select the best alternative. Choose the highest ranked alternative and follow up to ensure proper and effective implementation.
- Implement the solution. Decision making is a nonlinear, recursive process. That is, most decisions are made by moving back and forth between the choices of criteria. It’s important to include people affected by the alternatives in the implementation process in order to rally support for the change.
- Follow up to ensure the effectiveness of the decision. Evaluating the chosen alternative helps managers see if the decision achieves the desired result. If the decision doesn’t meet the desired outcome, managers should reassess the problem and find another possible solution. Bear in mind that not all desired outcome contribute to successful decisions. Many factors affect our decisions and a negative outcome may not necessarily be due to the final decision.
- Our personal instincts play a big role in decision making. Some studies show that the use of intuition leads to 80% of successful decisions. Many decisions must ultimately rely on or be influenced by intuition because of the remaining degree of uncertainty involved in the situation.
- Decisions can be based on our personal values. Values shape our behaviors as well as our choices. We learn our values as children and it’s very difficult to change later in life. This is why some people believe that our beliefs guide our behaviors.
The Video Lounge
This video talks about the importance of group decision making. Groups are more effective in making decisions. Factors that influence group decision making include a supportive group environment, members putting group needs ahead of personal needs, group members encouraging differences and collaborating with one another. The six step decision making process is essential in solving problems. These steps are discussed in details and the author explains how we can use them as we solve problems that occur in our daily lives.
Click on the link below to view:
The decision making process is still relevant today because of our changing environment. Decision making is an important part of management because making the right decisions differentiates one manager from another. Great decisions lead to positive outcomes and this may not only secure a manager’s job but also establishes confidence and self-respect. In decentralized organizations, managers play a big role in making decisions. On the other hand, employees may not be required to make the final decision at the work place but are also faced with decision making in their daily lives. It’s important that when faced with problems, they analyze the current situation and have the courage to make the final decision. Today companies empower employees to make decisions. This is referred to as employee empowerment. Employees are more responsible for their work performance. Those who continue making the right decisions are more likely to be given a pay raise or promoted to a better position.
Decision making. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.answers.com/topic/decision-making
Lopper, J. (2007, October 23). Development of personal values. Retrieved from http://personaldevelopment.suite101.com/article.cfm/development_of_personal_values#ixzz0t8rpBtO2
Introduction to decision making techniques. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_00.htm
Williams, R.B. (2010, February 11). What Managers need to know about decision-making . Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201002/what-managers-need-know-about-decision-making.
To contact the author of “Top Ten Management on the Decision Making Process,” please email Grace Nabasabala at Grace.firstname.lastname@example.org.
David C. Wyld (email@example.com) is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at http://wyld-business.blogspot.com/. He also maintains compilations of his student’s publications regarding management concepts (http://toptenmanagement.blogspot.com/), book reviews (http://wyld-about-books.blogspot.com/), international foods (http://wyld-about-food.blogspot.com/).
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