Decision making

Decision making

Introduction to Decision Making

DESCISON MAKING IS "Setting the mind to think to conclude a point"

Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon and many others have said, "decision making is of major importance."

In The Professional Decision Thinker (1983) Ben Hairs stated "the same logic, I believe, applies to our managers and leaders. We can no longer afford to depend upon Their natural thinking talents alone" Aptly said because decision makers should apply a well researched methodology and not just grey matter.

Decision making is everywhere and in all fields. Managers, scientists' engineers' lawyers make crucial decisions that man oeuvre the course of society and its economy which includes the government.

Decision making involves processes like fixing agendas, setting goals, and drafting actions and complex tasks like evaluating efficiency of production at the individual and national level Although it is advisable to follow rationale while making a decision Mintzberg researched on a few senior managers to find out that they did not follow the prescribed rationale model of first defining problems, next examining the probable causes, and finally taking charge to solve the issue The solution, managers on an average groped along with was only an indistinct impression about the nature of the issue and with little or no idea of what the actual solution would be until they found it. (Mintzberg, Raisinghani, and Theorel, 1976). Isenberg (1984).

The Big Picture of Problem Solving and Decision Making

While Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon covered a wide spectrum, there are many other instances where decision making is of unimaginable importance Life Protecting the earth, preventing wars preserving human health and improving the governance of countries across the globe.

But how about decision making in Teaching?

At the educational level decision making is taught in terms problem solving techniques, analysis of a concept but to a limited extent. Many reports specifically report out for student's proficiency in problem solving and decision making.

The need for teaching critical thinking is often mentioned without realizing its importance and impact in the teaching arena and on a student's academic performance. An iota of importance transcends the student but it is not of great importance.

Many organizations and firms have taken a bold stance to get their staff trained. The government has not been of much help

Tips for good decisions

It is tough to believe the amount of research work gone into the techniques of decision making affecting and covering the various facets of human life and social strata to impact business.

The following few techniques will assist one is making good decisions

Identify whether the issue is

A minor or a major one?

A short-term goal or long-term plan?

A policy decision? Be careful of setting a precedent.

A group decision or team decision?

Also, judge how a decision can impact the technical, legal, financial social, business, professional political, aspects in terms of business prospect Decision making and its alternatives have always kept organizations on their toes and have been the most critical to them in terms of their effect and the criterion applied.


Different Decision-Making - An understanding

The Myers and Briggs Type Indicator (A decision making indicative tool) categorizes people into two

Thinkers - Has an inclination towards reason and judgment

Feelers - Values and subjective judgment are used.

Varied Logics applied in Innovation Projects

The leadership across businesses use formulated logic to resolve uncertainty. The technology bigwigs also follow a similar approach to address nebulous ambiguity. Whether anything can go wrong, in terms of the situation and outcome is something that one has introspect about and approximate the probability of predicted output.

The possibilities for business and investments are the same when it comes to decision making but the objective is to arrive at an estimated outcome given the event occurs.

Warren Buffet - a thriving investor; says "Take the probability of loss times the amount of possible loss from the probability of gain times the amount of possible gain".

Always discuss with people before decision making

Check, discuss and enquire with people. This aids effective decision making. Which means communication is vital and eases the decision making process.

Decision making tree

A vital and a resourceful decision-making theory and practice tool. The decision making tree is a structure that assists decision making to take place in an organized manner .It takes care of events of uncertainty and also encompasses the probable outcomes of all decisions and events. Thus easing out difficult decision making processes.

Task 2

Evaluating strengths

Strength - a combination of inherent capability, individual characteristics along with behavioral aspects blended with a strong skillet acquired skills which when applied gives successful result.

Listed here under are a few questions to assess strengths and are divided into three categories.

Skills based on

  1. knowledge: Acquired from education and expertise. Example, Various degrees, technical skills, language proficiency and computer knowledge.
  2. Personal traits: Personality straits specific and exclusive to an individual Example, Discipline, creativity, hardworking nature.
  3. Transferable skills: Skills developed and honed during career making and advancement. Example, management skills, people skills etc.
Evaluating Weaknesses

Weakness hinders and destroys performance. One needs to apply concrete practical approaches towards the indentified weak trait and work upon it to overcome it. This can also be used to avoid such traits at times if required. But working on a particular weakness will help one overcome the quality and strengthen a personality to make more effective decisions. Concentrating on strengths is another effective method to overcome weakness

Reflective Action

An ongoing process where learning happens from experience out of one's own deeds. The top and middle level management are good examples of reflective actions. Most of their leanings are a result of training workshops and brainstorming sessions. There is also the process of life where the myriad situations they may encounter can be a cause of learning

Action Learning

Learning is thought to be "relational learning" This means learning is a combined process that involves people participating and where understanding is a shared process. Action learning is created around various factors such as

Set- People in a small group.

Learning vehicle -Real time projects where individuals/groups emphasize upon.

Set advisor -One who helps as well as learns in a group.

Let's take the example of a lecturer

The equation upon which Action Learning is built is - L=P+Q

Where L is learning and is accomplished by asking questions and getting knowledge

P=Programmed language. (Personal or input language)

Q=Questioning insight

Since Action Learning is based on acquiring knowledge through experience, a learning series is necessary for Q to be effective. Also, various learning approaches have to be adopted to acquire enhanced and advanced knowledge. Hence, introspection must happen at all stages of learning in a sequence for comprehending an event/action and a for planning the next.

Action learning is built on problem and not puzzles solving

'Puzzles' have a solitary answer to the question which has to be established. 'Issues' can be necessary evils like, challenges and obstacles and the opportunities available may have umpteen approaches of tackling them. Thus creating more than one way out for the problems.

The following equation:

L = P + Q

Programmed knowledge (P) is perhaps adequate to solve the 'puzzles'. But it is inadequate to solve 'problems' without an answer:

To tackle issues for making accurate decisions, one requires a questioning insight in addition to the programmed knowledge devising a way out to a problem, a comprehensive stance towards learning should be adopted where the intricacies are taken into consideration while during decisions making.

Learning as a Social Process

Action learning is a social framework for those who wish to arrive at solutions where the individuals pool their ideas and make collective decisions. The learners administer the situation effectively and actively by taking the onus of the decisions. During the self development phase the continuous learning process of individuals is enhanced in their personal sphere. At the group level a joint or mutual findings permit collaborative work and increased awareness where fresh societal meanings and authenticity are built together.

The set adviser

An advisory role is of prime importance and also precarious if a decision making process entered into with preconceived solutions. Action Learning Model

  1. The Challenge. An amorphous situation is placed before the participant with no prior research on the issue or project. To begin with it may be presented in an unofficial manner. But in the end a formal representation of the subject is required
  2. Issue Identification. Participants think about the issues they are required tackle and administer in order to deliver required by the charge.
  3. There are two types of issues that are identified. (1) Assignment Issues where information and statistical requirements are exclusive to the project circumstance which have to be collected and scrutinized for the deliverable. (2) Knowledge Issues where learning of notions and methodologies has to be presented or developed in order to create the output.

  4. Inquiry. Participants engage in inquiry to identify the matter. They explore and study to gather data and other vital statistics necessary for the project. There is a lot of learning activity which is done independently with a specialist, and also (may or may not be required) interactive learning module which are created and furnished.
  5. Action. Participants scrutinize the vital statistics collected by means of the knowledge acquired to make decisions regarding the deliverable. This procedure often involves repetition with point 2 and 3 since a lot of formation leads to the recognition of extra issues and to meet the need for more investigation. However, at a certain point, the iteration should cease (usually caused by a time limit) and the deliverable has to be ready to be for submission
  6. Reflection. Participants engage in reflection once the deliverable is submitted and feedback is sought the procedure of reflection aims at making knowledge acquisition unambiguous and the abilities to remember the content in any situation that demands its application or knowledge. Action Research

Action research is a self-introspective finding conducted by the participants in societal atmosphere.

Action Research assists participants to enhance their

  • common and Educational endeavors
  • A peek into these endeavors for a more profound understanding
  • To apply these endeavors in a new state of affairs

The crucial constituent of action research is testing with new ideas to get better at and to augment knowledge. Action learning follows a sequence of series to boost the knowledge.

Each series is carried is done

Four steps

  1. Planning: involves scrutinizing a situation and building a new premeditated plan
  2. Action: The execution of the aforesaid plan
  3. Observing: The monitoring of the outcomes of the plan
  4. Reflecting: Assessing the results obtained from the complete action procedure

The ultimate result of the Action exploration or research is 'Looping' and moving the series forward to enhance practice.

Task 3

Wild cat Strikes:

A strike undertaken while an existing trade union is in existence or during the processes or a trade union negotiating on benefits. It is ideally illegal, because it is not recognized by a trade union. When the staff members participate in wild cat strikes they are dismissed from duty without any advance notice. The company is not liable in such cases. This is a practice in most countries. Since they are not legally binding, and are not covered under any law, Wild cat strikes are avoided by many employees.

Wildcat strikes spread to power stations across Britain which involved more than 2,000 workers at 17 different locations protesting against services availed from foreign contractors. close to 700 employees marched out of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland and 400 others called for an unofficial strike at one of the refineries at Teesside .The British National Party was trying to hijack the strikes called for by sending activists to join the picket line as the Unite union This did not stop the agitations and the effort to cease its influence over employees who are upset over the British jobs being lost to European competitors was futile

A correct picture of industrial struggle calls for consideration of a detailed thought and insight into the, lesser manifestation s too. The end result or outcome of the research is not about trade unions and labor disagreements, the strifes or the lockouts but the approach and attitude of the opposition and the conflicting orientations between the industrial employers and the optional work force

The need for a revolutionization in the laws and other enforcements to safeguard the well being of the British workers has brought about the requirement for a clear comprehension on the nature the strikes... Instead of zeroing on just the wildcat strikes it has become a necessity to place them along with the behavior and performance which results in favorable outcome


Perception involves the procedures that are related with the identification, alteration and organizing sensory information. It is strongly associated with all other high - order cognitive functions (such as analysis, conceptualization, solving problems, recollection, retention etc.) as well as sensory-motor behavior.

Attention is one of the main elements in perception often used to distinguish and discriminate higher-order cognitive progression from purely sensory processes. Few theories of recollection or on memory, such as Paivio, Craik & Lockhart, differentiate diverse layers of processing based on the perceptual phenomenon

Perception (Theories): build

Two major divisions:

  1. Bottom-up: Perception puts together a set of primal "features" in a chain of commands to the human internal representations.
  2. Top-down: perception begins with a set of primal. But, the human perceptual understanding is under the influenced of higher-level procedures or progressions , which include knowledge or familiarity and the background or a situation

Five foremost theories:

  1. Direct perception: Perception
  2. Direct perception

    Perception is a result of the stimulus power touching the receptor cells. Higher cognitive procedures or inner representations are nor required

  3. Template/Exemplar theory
  4. The brain stocks examples of all matter seen as exemplars or templates.

    When compared, the perceived object is set to the exemplars until a match is found

  5. Prototype theory
  6. As an alternative to exemplars or rigid templates, a prototype is stored. This is like the average of an object.

    The perceived object is corresponded to an object till the closest match is found

  7. Feature theory
  8. Perception begins with recognition of elementary features grouped to form more composite objects, which are further grouped into more complex objects, till an object is identified.

    Example: Pandemonium

  9. Feature theory on the neural basis
  10. Neurons in the primary visual cortex (occipital lobe) act in response to the visual features like corners and lines .All this is using single cell recording. This highlights the early visual system and how it is entwined

Constructive and Defensive behavior:

To comprehend constructive thinking, a detailed understanding of emotions is crucial. Most individuals are under the impression that their emotions aid them in responding to situations or conditions.

Humans are aware of the fact that con troll over their emotions is possible. The answer to this they say is constructive thinking which assists one to think productively and positively of the people around.

Defensive Behavior:

Defensive behavior is a technique used by most to safeguard their self-respect. Often such a behavior is displayed to mask their actual or true emotions/

Defensiveness is portrayed by people who are overly anxious about protecting themselves against the real.

It can be called as a "knee jerk reaction." One can be defensive either about certain subjects, people or emotions without being consciously aware. There is a possibility that Defensiveness can become highly emotionally destructive when it becomes an everyday way of life.

One must first become conscious of the defense mechanism if it is to be understood and dealt with.

A few general signs of defensive behaviors are listed hereunder

  • Not conversing or discussing about certain subjects
  • A defensive stance when confronted;
  • Misinterpreting what others say in a negative manner
  • Getting irritated for no reason, specifically when in the company of certain people or when faced with certain topics;
  • A connate feeling of "no one understands me";
  • Highly self-critical; and also
  • Difficulty in listening to others opinions

At times ,defensive behavior nay lead to sarcasm, retreat, denial, anger, inflexibly in staying put on ones way of thinking, taking no heed to what others are and at times speaking without thinking which can be socially embarrassing

Interpersonal skills:

Interpersonal skills may be defined as "the skill set for which effective communication with another". Though there is literal difference over the precise skills skill set, most authors tend to agree on a lot of core features where aptitude is a requisite for good and effective interpersonal interactions or conversations

These are:

  • Awareness of the self: Self-awareness can be a an essential pre requisite for the type of "other-awareness" or empathy presumed to achieve good communication - exchange of ideas in other words .
  • Effective listening: The listening ability is a proficient core skill set in interpersonal situations A major features that strengthen effectiveness
  • In oral communication.
  • Questioning: The ability to ask something in a given instance which can propel the amount of efficient interaction. This can increase relevant information gathered and can also increase the time span of the overall communication
  • Oral communication: Few processes should be involved in good oral presentations. Oral communication is addressed in great detail by matching the Learn Higher learning area.
  • Helping or facilitating: Being an efficient helper is also one of important features of interpersonal caliber. Ideas about assisting behavior from human psychology have also had a great impact in terms of bringing to light various studies and developments in the area of interpersonal skills
Teaching also has been explored.
  • Reflecting: It is closely identified with psychological sciences and/or counseling .It can also be said as the ability to echo another definition says reflections are "statements in the interviewer's oral words which builds and re-present the essence of the interviewee's oral words".
  • Assertiveness: Being assertive is a significant interpersonal quality for making a decisive impact on the other party. Not necessarily personal, it is also applicable in the professional sphere. Asserting oneself can serve various communicative aspects which include permitting views to be expressed clearly and unobtrusively and the dismissal of negative notions.
  • Non-verbal communications: A number of communication behaviors also include and involve the non-verbal aspects of communication. It is an ability to show or display messages through a medium which is very subtle. Messages or information can be put accross through the following non-verbal channels:
  • Facial Expressions: The Facial expressions are an important proof communicates an individual's emotional state very effectively. They can control the interactions by a process of conversations synchronization
  • Gaze: Gaze is one of the most profitable means of expression in communicating For example, staring for a prolonged period is often considered as a symbol of unfriendliness or aggression. Gazing initiates and regulates interpersonal communication. Once can say that it's an effective measure to gauge another's reactions.
  • Gestures: Gestures are a replacement for words in certain situations In addition to the verbal message; they can or may be used to decipher an intended meaning of a conversation.
  • Posture: The posture often reveals the since and approach of an individual towards the participation of others in the communication process. Postures or the body language of an individual digresses according to the situation and may also vary from person to person. For example, an individual can appear more relaxed in an informal gathering when compared to a formal occasion.
  • Paralinguistic cues: Non verbal vocal cues frequently divulge information about a person's emotional status These are the pitch, tone and the rate of speech .For example, an anxious person usually tends to speak quickly at times stammering and also in a very high pitch.

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