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Each and everyone is a decision maker and has to make a choice and selections in life’s daily activities. In one way or the other human beings are forced to make choices. For instance, when one is paid his wages, there are so many options available to spend the money. Therefore, one has to make a choice between investment and consumption and the different modes that exist in each. These are all different forms of choice, and a decision has to be made.
When we look at this concept in an organization perspective, we find that it pervades all its managerial activities and systems. Decision making is the process where there exist different alternatives and a choice has to be made. This process is almost related to traditional functions of management. It is an organizational process as it is geared towards creating no defections. It goes beyond the individual capacity, and its effects are felt in the whole organization.
Decision making is indeed a rather complicated process. In a commercial undertaking, the decision making process extends from the supervisory management up to the highest executive. In the present day society, it is very hard to specify which course of action is most appropriate to suit every situation. However, the decision making process can be simplified to setting objectives, policies and procedures that are to be observed in the organization (Arkes and Hammond 1986).
Importance of decision making in an organization
Being a leader is one of the hardest tasks in an organization. This is because all leaders make decisions to others who then follow them. The fate of the organization and lies on the kind and quality of decision a leader makes. A leader is expected to have a high level of experience and understanding of the organization and to choose the best for him, the organization and its staff. Followers put a lot of trust in their leaders and the decisions he makes. The leader’s ability to observe the situations deeply, help in choosing the right path of the organization is of vital importance for future success of the company. When the leader’s decision becomes one of the best under given circumstances, his respect rises in the eyes of his followers.
There is doom in any undertaking where there is the lack of people who can make rational decisions and implement them. However, no decision can assure a 100% success rate in the achievement of the objective. As a logically reasoning leader, one should choose the course of action with the highest chances of success than the one supported by confidence and logics in your judgment. At times, decisions may turn to be good or bad. However, good or bad the decision may turn to be, they all add up to corporate wisdom if their analysis is done afterwards. The quality of decision a shrewd manager will make in the future is determined by the attitude adopted towards the previous mistakes. The way to get better in decision making is learning from mistakes and never repeating them.
Steps to take towards better decision
- As a manager, outline your goals and expected goals. This step is important as it enables a manager to visualize what they are trying to have accomplished at a given time and keep track of them.
- Gather all relevant data that will be of help in decision making. This is important because it serves as sufficient evidence to support your decision strategy.
- Develop several alternatives, which are likely to lead to the same goal. This is done by brainstorming all ideas relevant to the topic in question.
- Make a comprehensive list of all the pros and cons of all the alternatives. With the pros and cons in mind, it is possible to do away with those alternative strategies that have more disadvantages than advantages.
- Make the decision after you have analyzed all the existing alternatives. Select the alternative, which is the most significant and the one that most of the other employees will agree with.
- Once the decision has been arrived at and picked, take immediate action. It should be implemented right away to avoid intervening factors that may come in and create fresh problems.
- Learn and reflect on the decision you made. At this point, one is able to focus on the places you went right and where a mistake was done. It allows for amendments and corrections to be made. The strategy adopted should be flexible enough to allow for changes.
When there exist different ways to performing a given task, it is always necessary to find out what the decision making entails. The adopted course of action should produce the best expected results. For a strategy to succeed, the best course of action should be adopted.
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By selecting one of the best methods of performing a task decision making ensures the organization’s resources are utilized in the best method. The resources are ever scarce, and there is a need to ensure proper use of them. These resources are the 4ms. That is; materials, machines money and men.
Proper decision making enables an organization to solve existing problems at the work place. For instance, if there exists a problem of low production at the work place, it cannot be underestimated, and a solution has to be arrived at. The actual root of the problem has to be identified and corrective actions taken. If it is found, for example, that the employees have a negative attitude, the manager has to adopt a strategy that will change that attitude.
Decision making assists an organization in identifying the best course of action in a given situation. It, therefore, promotes efficiency. A course of action arrived at must be acceptable to both the management and the workers. Satisfied employees always put their best foot forward towards accomplishment of an objective they have set for themselves. This results to higher production and output which in turn satisfies the management of the organization (Bazerman1986).
Organizational conflicts are solved through a series of decisions. For instance, when the workers demand higher salaries, the management is obliged to consider the matter; otherwise, the workers will become disoriented and give up. The decision arrived at must always be impartial so that the organization spirit is kept.
Flaws in decision making are as a result of failure to observe the above steps. This is common in people who possess much power in an organization. These flawed decisions usually have far reaching effects on the employees and organization at large. Even though a person may have much knowledge about decision making, the aspect of being informed is of paramount importance. It is often said that ‘information is power’, which provides a leader with the ability to make quality decisions.
When one wants to make the best of all the available decisions, it is important to narrow down to a point where there is one of the best choices of alternatives. Whenever the need to evaluate the decisions arises, there are available tools to evaluate how well things have been done. Some of the evaluation techniques available are; decision matrix and multivoting.
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Decision matrix is a system that evaluates and makes priorities on a list of options by making use of weighted criteria, which is predetermined. The team involved develops weighted criteria that enable them to evaluate the options against them. This method is appropriate when a list of options needs to be narrowed down to one choice.
Multivoting is a method used when there is a list of many possibilities that need to be narrowed down to a shorter list of potential possibilities. This method is most preferable when the variables to be evaluated need a straight voting. It allows all items to be favored but not only the top items. After a deep review of some of the expansion tools, it prepares a list that entails all possibilities.