Decision Making

Dr. Purushothaman
October 13, 2013

DECISION MAKING (Art of Solving Problems)
Decision-making usually involves that art where in one analyzes and evaluates the various alternatives methodically and then chooses which alternative to pursue. The importance of various models and techniques of decision-making is thus very obvious since this choice could possibly determine the entire next steps and possibly the longevity of any organization's strategic planning.
The most popular of all the techniques is the simple analysis wherein the various pros and cons of any choice are listed and are then rated on a scale of 1 to 10 after which a weighted average of both the pros and cons are considered and a decision is made.
The technique, created by Benjamin Franklin, is most commonly used for many decision-making strategies. Another technique, Force Field Analysis, is a method for listing, discussing, analyzing, and evaluating the various forces that are for and against any proposed change or choice.
However, many times not much is known to make a decision. One needs to go with whatever decision one needs to go with whatever decision one needs to make at that time based on what one has given the context and the amount of information, there can be four types of decision-making that one does:

1. Decisive:
Little information, single conclusion: An individual needs to be decisive and sure of the decision s/he is making when there is little information available to go about in the context, and with this limited information one needs to zero in on one just way, the most effective way to take action. While making a decisive decision, one needs to be calm and cool under pressure as well as be in charge of the situation.
2. Flexible:
Little information, and multiple conclusions. Many a time, when one has little or limited information and also one is not sure of what probably will be the best possible course of action, one needs to ensure a minimum number of options to be available at hand to choose from at any given point in time.
There is always a tendency for uncertainty to exist and a flexible decision-maker is able to handle that uncertainty in a calm manner since s/he has other alternative options available.
3. Integrative:
Maximum information, multiple conclusions: Integrative decision-making, done by considering the maximum possible information to bring out as many choices and alternatives as possible, is essential when it comes to strategic planning in organizations and in the world of business.
Because the choices a business owner or manager makes can determine the success or failure of a business, the way in which these individuals make decisions is of paramount importance. While some elect to look at a few options, and then make a choice, others take these options into consideration and use them to craft an entirely new option that merges the best parts of the original choice.
This process, integrative decision-making, has some major benefits, making it a process worthy of consideration by industry decision-makers.
4. Hierarchic:
Maximum information single conclusion: is a structured technique for organizing and analyzing complex decisions. It is very useful in fields such as government, business, industry, healthcare, and education.
Rather than prescribing a correct decision, the AHP helps decision-makers find one that best suits their goal and their understanding of the problem. It provides a comprehensive and rational framework for structuring a decision for representing and quantifying its elements to overall goals, and for evaluating alternative solutions.
Use of the AHP first decomposes their decision problem into a hierarchy of more easily comprehended sub-problems, each of which can be analyzed independently. The elements of the hierarchy can relate to any aspect of the decision problem - tangible or intangible, carefully measured or roughly estimated, well or poorly understood - anything at all that applies to the decision at hand. Based also on the various parameters one uses to assess the situation, there are a number of decision-making styles one uses:
Impulsive: Little thought or examination, taking the first alternative, don't look before you leap.
Fatalistic: Letting the environment decide, leaving it up to fate, it's in the cards.
Compliant: Let someone else decide following someone else plans; anything you say, sir.
Delaying: Taking a moratorium, postponing thought and action; I will cross that bridge later.
Agonizing: Getting lost in all the data and getting overwhelmed with analyzing alternatives;  I don't know what to do.
Planning: Using a procedure so that the end result is satisfying, a rational approach with a balance between cognitive and emotional; weighing the facts.
Intuitive: A mystical, preconscious choice, based on inner harmony, it feels right.
Paralysis: Accepting responsibility, but unable to approach it; can't face up to it.
Deviant: Asking the advice of others, but then doing the opposite of what is suggested, I'm going to do it my way,
A combination of the types and styles can help an individual pause and choose the apt style based on the type of decision required to be taken. One can use the above to zero in on the decisions one needs to make at a given point in time, depending on the situation, the information, the context, and other parameters involved.

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