Decision making choice or action

Decision making is an outcome of process leading to the course selection among several alternatives. Every process in decision making produces a final choice. The result can be an opinion of choice or an action.


Human performance in decision making has become the active research from several perspectives. From psychological perspective, test one's decisions in the context of a set of needs and the preferences every individual has and values they seek is essential. And from a cognitive perspective, the decision making process is considered as a continuous process integrated with the environment. And from a normative perspective, individual decision is concerned with the process of decision making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to. At a different level, it is considered as a problem solving activity and is concluded by a satisfactory solution. Thus, decision making is emotional or a reasoning process which can be irrational or rational based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.

Logical decision making plays a vital role in science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a particular area to make knowledgeable decisions. For example, medical decision making involves making regular diagnosis in order to select an appropriate medicine. Some research using naturalistic methods shows, however, higher time pressure situations, experts use spontaneous decisions rather than following a structure.

Present robust decisions follows an integrated uncertainty into the decision making process. However, Decision Analysis, recognize and includes suspicions with a structured way of rationally justified method of decision making.

Problem Analysis vs. Decision Making

The primary task of decision making process is to identify the problem. Problem analysis is entirely different from decision making. Problem analysis is performed before the information is gathered, with in that process decision making is carried out.


  • Analyze the performance and identify the result
  • Problems are only interruptions in the phase of attaining performance standards
  • Identify and describe the problem
  • Change in the distinctive feature reflects in creating problems
  • Causes that effect problems can be reduced from relevant alteration found in analyzing the problem.
  • Illustrating all the facts can be one of the causes to a problem.

Decision Making

  • Establish primary objective
  • Arrange the objectives in order of importance
  • Develop alternative actions
  • Evaluate the alternative against all the objectives
  • The alternatives that can achieve all the objectives is called as the tentative decision
  • Evaluate the tentative decisions for possible consequences
  • Consider decisive actions, and to avoid any adverse consequences from becoming problem in starting both systems (problem analysis and decision making) all over, again consider additional actions.

Cognitive and personal biases

Personal Biases can creep into our decision making processes. Many different people make decisions for a same question and then develop possible cognitive involvements in improving decision making outcomes.

Below is a list of some of the discussed cognitive biases:

  • Selective search for evidence - Gather facts that support certain conclusions but ignore other facts that support different conclusions. Defensive Individuals show significantly greater left prefrontal cortex activity as measured by EEG than do less defensive individuals.
  • Premature termination of search for evidence - Accept the first alternative that may work.
  • Inertia - Not changing the planned patterns used in the past to face new circumstances.
  • Selective Observation - We usually avoid or left behind information that we think is unimportant.
  • Thinking wishfully - Sometimes, we try to see everything in a positive way, but it results to misconception of certain ideas and understandability.
  • Selection - misconception occurs when we choose something which seems to be attractive because of altered memories of chosen and rejected options by the group.
  • Regency - We often avoid or forget information which was gathered earlier and give more attention to recent information. This effect is termed Primacy effect (Plous, 1993).
  • Repetition Misconception - This is due to our interest in believing what was told to us in regular basis and the large number of different sources.
  • Securing and Adjusting - We tend to get influenced by the first information which takes a concrete shape over the subsequent information.
  • Group thinking- Helps to conform to the ideas provided within the group.
  • Source credibility misconception - If we have a misconception over a person/group/company, we simply reject their ideas/source to which the person belongs. We rather accept to the ideas given by someone we like.
  • Identifying Right Attributes - We usually credit the success to our strengths and abilities, but in other part, we append failures to external factors. We attribute one's success to their good luck, and their loosing to their mistakes.

Cognitive styles

A decision making process of a person depends on his learning methods and approach. For example, if there are a set of 4 bi-polar dimensions. Each corner points on each dimension are Thinking and feeling; the terminal points on these dimensions are: thinking and feeling; extroversion and introversion; judgment and perception; and sensing and intuition. We see that the decision making style of a person depends upon the how much they score on each these dimensions. If someone scores on the first four, then the other end would be vice versa.

Other research suggests that such variation exists throughout the society. For instance, American, Japanese and Chinese business leaders exhibit a diversed national style of decision making.

Making the best vs. Being Content:

The phrase "bounded rationality" express the idea that our decision-making ideas are limited to the available information, time period and our ability of process the information. There are two cognitive styles defined: Making the best which people make an optimal decision, whereas satisficers just find a solution that is "limited". The former tends to make bigger making decisions due to maximizing needs across the given variables.

Combinatoral vs. Positional:

The style and the methods of decision making are detailed by an analysis. In his analysis, styles and methods are referred to chess game, where methods are disclosed which are application to other, more complex systems.

Katsenelinboigen states that beyond the certainty and uncertainty, there are methods (reactive and selective) and sub-methods (randomization, predispositioning, programming), among the the given methods, the two major styles being - positional and combinational. Though bothe of thema re utilized in the game but both the approaches lead to uncertainity.

The combinational style is characterized by:

  • a simple, properly defined goal, and
  • A system which can link between the initial inputs with the final outcomes.

Katsenelinboigen defines combinational system, he writes:

The combinational style has a properly planned objective (limited), like the capture of idea (the main element of a chess position). The objective is done through a well defined or in certain cases, in form of a unique sequence of moves targeted to reach the set goal. As an instruction, the sequences leaves you with no option for the opponent. Getting a collaborative objectives gives you more focus on all the energies, that is, your analysis is limited to the piece of ideas taking part in the combination.

The positional style is compared by:

  • A set goal and
  • A form of half- completed links between setup and final outcome.

Strengths and Weaknesses Checklist

The below chart can help you to identifying the strengths and weaknesses and provides you a better idea on whether you are ready to become a small business holder or not.

You need to examine the skills of each areas listed in the chart. A question can be raised on acquiring the skills listed in the parentheses. Now skills in each area are given a rating by, circling the appropriate number.

After rating yourself based on the above qualifications, summarize the count. Now, check with the following rating scale:

  • if the count is less than 20 points, reconsider your opinion on owning a business
  • if the count lies between 20 and 25, then you are on the verge of being ready, but you will send some time in strengthening some of your weaker areas
  • if the count exceeds 25, now you are ready to start a new business.

Introduction to reflective practice

Reflection guides us to critically question practices that we have previously taken for granted. It helps us to become self-aware of the views and assumptions that may be limiting our lives.

Reflective practice can be seen as 'consciously thinking about and analysing what one has done (or is doing)'. It is a process of looking back over our experiences, reflecting upon them and making sense of them. Reflective practice helps us to make future changes (Mezirow, 1991; Rolfe, Freshwater & Jasper 2001).

In this module activities have been organised to assist you to continue to reflect on your own learning as you engage with learning tasks and materials. You will have the opportunity to look at several examples of reflective writing where you can practice identifying some of the characteristics of different types of reflection.

Perception in Communication

In living our lives and communicating with each other our perception of reality is less important than reality itself. Some would argue that there IS no ultimate reality, only the illusion of our perceptions.

Our perceptions are influenced by:

  1. physical elements - what information your eye or ear can actually take in, how your brain processes it.
  2. environmental elements - what information is out there to receive, its context.
  3. learned elements - culture, personality, habit: what filters we use to select what we take in and how we react to it.

For instance, color blind people will not perceive "red" the way as other people do. Those with normal vision may physically see "red" similarly, but will interpret it culturally:

  • red meaning "stop" or "anger" or "excitement" or "in debt" (US)
  • red meaning "good fortune" (China)
  • red meaning your school's colors

Selective Attention

The world deluges us with sensory information every second. Our mind produces interpretations and models and perceptions a mile a minute. To survive, we have to select what information we attend to and what we remember.

Information that attracts our attention

  • Sends out strong physical stimulus: contrast, blinking, loudness, etc.
  • Elicits emotion - TV dramas, memory aid: when taking notes on an article, write your emotional response to it
  • Is unexpected? (This may draw your attention or conversely, you may miss it entirely with your mind filling in the missing pieces you expected to receive.)
  • Fits a pattern
  • Previous knowledge that gives it context
  • Interests you
  • Connects to basic needs
  • Is useful.

Note how important your cultural filters will be in determining the answers to these questions-what hooks your emotions? What is "normal" and what is "unexpected", etc.

Understanding Perception in Management

Once a manager allows perception to enter his.her mind, the actual truth becomes distorted. Some managers will meet an applicant or new employee and develop a stereotype based solely on what they perceive. Unfortunately, several employees have experienced situation, where a manager has

made a decision based on their perception of the truth. But, perception should not be relied on when making a decision.

Understanding Perception

What is Perception?

"Perception is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment". "The brain seeks information, mainly by directing an individual to look, listen and sniff." But, perception can cause disagreements among people, because each person sees things differently. So, it isn't unusual, for two people to see something and perceive it differently. Manny situations arise where the manager is supposed to decide between the truth and perception. Basically, a person will be familiar with the object whether it is desirable or dangerous.

Functions in Perceptions

There are many factors to influence the way a manager can view something or someone. Factors influencing the mangers perception are the person's approach and motive/ motive, attention, knowledge, and belief. Manager should decide on the facts and delete their own perceptions. Generally, "perception are created by habit" (Howard, Unknown) and they can become a major pitfall. Some "situations" may factor in a person's perception: like "time", "work settings", and "social settings" (Robbins, 2005).

Human behavior

Human behavior is the behaviors exhibited by human beings who are influenced by emotions, values, principles, civilization, relationship, hypnosis, feelings, power, influence, coercion and/or genetics.

The behavior of the people falls within a range based on some activities, some strange, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable limits being common. In sociology, behavior has no meaning, being not aimed at other people is the most basic human action. Behavior should not be misguided with social behavior, which is more advanced action. The acceptable behavior is evaluated relation to social norms and synchronized by dissimilar means of social power.

The behavior of human beings is studied by the educational disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, community work, sociology, finances, and anthropology. It is an essential factor in human society. Each human has a different behavior, according to Humanism.

Factors that affect human behavior

  • Attitude - the level to which the person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behavior in problem.
  • Social Norms - the influence of social pressure that is perceived by the individual to perform or not perform a certain behavior.
  • Perceived Behavioral Control - the individual's trust concerning how easy or difficult performing the behavior will be.

Theories about human behavior

Human behavior is categorized into three key theory and physical surroundings: theory of stimulation, theory of control and theory of setting behavior. Theory of stimulation is based upon the traditional sensory stimulation, based on which knowledge becomes successful.

Greater learning takes place only when multi-senses are stimulated which shown in the above theory. Theory of control is based on the subject "how much physical environment can be controlled", and what are the attempts we making to increase this control. In control theory there are four main concepts: personal space, territoriality, crowding, and privacy.

In order to gain control over the physical environment, personal space and territoriality are the main mechanisms. They are used to define bounds of interpersonal relationships, which can prove, age, gender, or civilization. On the one side, in some situations even if the person tries to control his physical environment, the environment can suppress the person.

The Behavior setting theory is the third major theory which describes about the human and the physical environment. The stable or constant pattern of this theory is supporting behavior settings at definite places. For this theory, social environment is given more importance than psychological. Every behavioral program occurs from the public point of view and is integrated by the interactive people, but is not mentions from the physical environment. This theory has suggestions for the social works value and interference.

Interpersonal skills

An interpersonal skill refers to the physical and communicative algorithms applied during the public meeting to obtain certain results. It is often used in business contexts to measure the person's ability to function within business organizations through social interactions. The relation between one people to another is considered as interpersonal skill.

Generally communication specifies respect for other people or professionals, which help in reducing the conflicts and tend to increase membership or assistance in gathering information or executing tasks.

For example, to disturb someone working on task of obtaining information required immediately, it is suggested to use a deferential approach with a pleasing language such as "Excuse me, are you busy? I have an urgent matter to discuss with you if you have the time at that moment"

This permits the receiving qualified expert to follow their own judgment and regarding the importance of their current task against discussion carried out with their colleague.

It is known that urgent request often takes the highest priority, and depends on the receiver's judgment to agree for further interaction, results in a high quality interaction.

To attain better professional results it is better to follow these kinds of heuristics, usually results as one with good interpersonal skills. These ratings often occur in formal and informal situations.


Having, positive interpersonal skills help in increasing the productivity of the organization due to reduce in the number of conflicts. In relaxed state, it is easy and comfortable to communicate. Generally feelings that emerge in difficult situations are controlled by People with good interpersonal skills that can even tend to respond appropriately, instead of being overwhelmed by emotion.


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