PDF | This paper compares a number of theoretical models of decision-making with the way in which senior managers make decisions in. Narrow down your choices CONTINUE READING. View PDF. Save to Library School Leaders Decision-Making Process for Academic Program Placement. —Decision making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preddoubwaitravun.ml
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Step 2: Gather relevant information. Collect some pertinent information before you make your decision: what information is needed, the best sources of. Before making use of any information, the decision maker has to evaluate . preddoubwaitravun.ml Example: a decision that depends on what others do. • Options: – Go to the beach. – Go to the cinema. • Your friend choose to: – Go to the beach.
Action theory depends upon generalizing about decisions as well as comparing prescriptions across organizational levels, etc. Investigators have examined decision making with many purposes in mind ranging from developing decisionmaking techniques, to prescription, to descriptions of what decision makers do.
This has led to a vast outpouring of projects that consider facets of decision making, with only a few addressing the entire decision episode. Framing dilemmas. A variety of frames can be found in decision-making research. Eisenhardt and Zbaracki contend that bounded rationality, power and politics, and chance provide the more useful frames. Thompson, ; Perrow, ; Allison, Research in this tradition has found process steps to unfold in a variety of ways that are subject to cycling and interrupts Mintzberg et al.
MacCrimmon and Taylor, ; Janis, The value of turning to politics can be questioned. The chance frame treats decision making as the accidental connection of a choice opportunity the call for a decision with a fortuitous solution. To be adopted, a solution must be conspicuous and have the support of the right people Cyert and March, The chance frame contends that decision makers, distracted by many concurrent demands, connect a solution with a problem to appease stakeholders Carley, ; Masuch and LaPotin, However, a chance explanation lacks both prescriptive and explanatory power.
Look at a decision as a process with unfolding steps and one sees a process with steps. Look for politics or chance and they appear Harrison and Phillips, This suggests that each frame offers a particular view and that no single view is best.
One way to cope is to merge frames, as suggested by Eisenhardt and Zbaracki For example, a merger of the more powerful frames, politics and bounded rationality, in the study of decision making seems feasible. This calls for studies that account for both a rational perspective, which uncovers cognitions, and a political perspective, which reveals the social context.
Some investigators stress description and offer a rich commentary on the events, motivations, and circumstances surrounding a decision. Others concentrate on prescription and offer guidelines for taking action. Both draw upon the other to justify many of the key positions and conclusions provided. Surprisingly, few advocates of either position attempt to measure success. Many of the descriptions and the prescriptions in the literature fail to include empirical investigations that demonstrate effectiveness or generalizability.
Even prescriptions that embody mathematical tools which are not considered in this volume seldom go beyond a case that illustrates how the tool works to studies that offer empirical evidence, such as comparing one tool to another. As with many management topics, decision-making research can be focused either descriptively or prescriptively. Many contemporary researchers have become strident proponents of one and implicitly, sometimes explicitly, opponents of the other. Contemporary researchers prefer to deal with decision making from a single perspective.
In addition, there has been a not so subtle shift in what journals prefer to publish to what is and is not acceptable. These trends have led to description dominating research efforts and creating a near mandate for this type of research, which has pushed out prescriptive work. As a result, much of the effort in the prescriptive arena has been shunted to consultants that rarely share their approaches and insights.
An explanatory focus has led to a set of methodologies that are far less useful for prescriptive research, which we will discuss in more detail later. On the one hand, there is action theory and normative science. Prescription calls for the researcher to identify frameworks, tactics, and the like to test them to see if they produce something of value in real world applications.
Description deals with use.
How many people act in a certain way, how many subordinates get involved, what is the skill level of key players? One informs the other. Theory that denies or invalidates one or the other is incomplete.
Linking the actions taken to success provides a key piece of the action-theory puzzle. One of the intents of this volume is to call for a more balanced approach to decision-making research. Misrepresenting process. Management research was founded with case studies. Decision-making research also has its roots in the case study approach.
Its origins can be traced to the Cyert and March seminal case study of decision making in organizations. Many such studies followed e. Bower, The description offered by a well-constructed case provided powerful imagery that indicated what was done and sought to uncover why. Cases have been particularly useful in reaching out to practitioners, where there is a decided preference for explicit discussion of application.
Unfortunately, this has led to discounting action science also called action theory , like that found in medicine and engineering, which has produced many breakthroughs in both arenas. Action theory offers an if-then approach to taking action in which an approach is crafted to deal with issues of interest to managers, much like the book of signs and symptoms used by Internists that connect signs and symptoms with possible therapies.
Action theory calls for a shift in emphasis from the is to the ought, which is context dependent. Action theory could have been incorporated into past efforts, but case study researchers invariably ignore how the decision was crafted — the steps taken to produce it. Thus, the core for constructing an action theory is missing from the case.
This skips over what organizational theorists call process, which has led to process being neglected in most of the research being reported in management journals. This is due in part to the descriptive tradition, noted above with its implicit focus on what is, and its ostensible preference to ignore how things got this way.
We will discuss the needs to consider process and its role in formulating an action theory for decision making throughout the book. This challenge is daunting. The process itself has been seen by some to be somewhat structured and by others as chaotic.
Many researchers have also changed their conceptual position over time. For instance, Mintzberg has shifted his view of process from structured Mintzberg et al. Initially, he appeared to argue that decision making was more like planned activity with periods of formulation followed by periods of 14 PAUL C. His more recent position seems to argue that decision-making processes are a messy mixture of formulation and implementation that do not necessarily precede one another in temporal sequence as case studies portray more often than not.
Instead, they should be conceptualized as inextricably interlinked. Still another view is that decision making is rarely planned and mostly emergent, with people reconstructing a story of what happened afterwards. This means that decision making is more about making sense of what has happened such as reconstructing a pattern in the process of decision making and less about planning in advance e.
Weick, ; Both the chaotic and the sensemaking view pose many conceptual problems to codify and understand process. Conceptualizing decision making The framing noted above gives decision-making research efforts their direction. The frame points a researcher down a particular path and suggests how key factors are to be imaged. This has led to many very different conceptualizations.
When different frames are used, it complicates attempts to integrate the action taking undertaken by a decision maker what decision makers do. Different actions would be sought and then measured if the investigator sets out to uncover steps suggested by bounded rationality, observe how a decision maker reacts to chance events, or follow a negotiation.
In each case, the frame suggests a conceptualization that dictates what kind of action-taking steps will be recognized. In addition, approaching a decision-making study as a description leads the researcher away from codifying procedure and toward describing the action taken. Finally, investigations seldom look for a frame that allows both emergent and chaotic features of a process to emerge. Second, researchers have approached the conceptualization of action very differently.
Some draw on philosophy of science e. Dewey, to gain insight into how decisions should be made. This has led to prescribing procedures e. Simon, ; Perrow, ; Thompson, ; Nutt, ; and Daft, There have been many of these efforts, which has prompted some to seek hybrid processes that integrate procedural elements, seeking an underlying process, and others to suggest processes for particular applications, such as decision making e.
Havelock, ; Nutt, a. Another kind of effort has investigated what decision makers do, looking for underlying logic e. Witte, ; Soelberg, ; Mintzberg et al. Such studies have examined decision-maker action by means of on-site observations, interviews, and surveys to uncover the procedures that are used in practice e. Nutt, ; Fredrickson, ; Hickson et al. Such studies attempt to identify the steps followed to make a decision Bell et al.
Other researchers go further, looking for steps that seem essential Nutt, Finally, some add cognition and measure process features Rajagopalan et al. This asserts that cognition determines the kind of process selected. All this has led investigators to conceptualize process very differently. As a result, research efforts seldom specify action elements in a way that allows for integration. Hickson et al. Bell et al. Others treat process as coalition formation or social process control and focus on measuring decision-maker attributes such as tolerance for ambiguity, uncertainty, or risk aversion Poole and Van de Ven, Although interesting, such research says little about how decisions are and should be made.
They characterize the process not the actions that take place within it. We call for studies that treat decision-maker action taking as a process with several steps that embrace intelligence gathering and implementation, in addition to choice, and allow for emergent ideas and messy recycling among key ideas such as formulation and search.
Contingency theory Contingency approaches have dominated management thinking for decades. This gives the appearance that contingency models have considerable empirical support. In all such models, contingencies lay out boundary conditions that identify when a particular kind of action is preferred. The boundary conditions are often suggested situational factors.
Environmental stability, time pressure, novelty, complexity, and resource dependency may identify when a given decision approach a set of action taking steps works best. Researchers empirically test such assertions by including both the action taking steps and the contingency as factors in a study that assesses each independently, and as a statistical interaction Nutt, WILSON researcher to determine if one kind of action taking works best under a particular set of conditions.
Two kinds of contingencies are recommended for such studies: content and context. A variety of decision types has been studied. Some focus on the crucial but infrequent decisions made by top managers that select core businesses offering competitive advantage e.
Hitt et al. This limits the purview to core business choices made by top management teams. As noted above, Mintzberg et al. The Mintzberg position takes a much more inclusive view that sweeps in a greater variety of somewhat smaller scale decisions, which have both top and middle manager involvement.
This opens the door to a wide scope of decisions. The Bradford studies Hickson et al.
Some focus on the decisions made to select a core business, which may involve patterns, position, or perspectives. The study of such is a sadly neglected topic. More work in this area is needed. We call for strategic decisions to be accounted for and characterized much more precisely in future work.
This can be done in at least two ways.
One approach is to classify decision by the degree to which it has strategic implications. There is no doubt that different decisions in organizations will vary in terms of their importance to the organization, the degrees of risk and novelty involved, and the amount of resources that need to be committed.
Each is essentially a oneoff decision. Organizational level decisions that follow, however resource hungry or risky, would be viewed using this perspective as operational. Effectively, they capture some of the many actions that put a strategy into practice. An alternative approach is to account for the distinction between the strategic and organizational decisions in empirical analyses.
Furthermore, an organizational decision can be either subjective or objective. Subjective choices involve agenda setting, selecting topics for future decisions Bell et al. Clarity about the kind of decisions being addressed is essential. In addition, decision scope, as indicated by the level of the managers involved, can be confounded with type and should be included as a study factor. Top executives are more apt to be involved with strategic matters and others with control systems, inputs, etc.
Thus, we call for studies that consider the decision type differentiating the strategic from the organizational as well as maintaining the subjective and objective distinction and specifying the span of the study the number of decision types included.
Thompson, ; Perrow, ; Bell et al. Internal factors include surprise, confusion, and threat March and Simon, ; organizational features, such as approaches to communication and control and resistance to change e.
Nutt, , as well as decision importance Bell et al.
Decision-maker attributes such as the propensity to take risks, tolerance for ambiguity, creativity, decision style, intelligence, need for control, power, experience, education, and values have been suggested Bell et al. In , professor John Pijanowski described how the Arkansas Program, an ethics curriculum at the University of Arkansas , used eight stages of moral decision-making based on the work of James Rest :  :6 Establishing community: Create and nurture the relationships, norms, and procedures that will influence how problems are understood and communicated.
This stage takes place prior to and during a moral dilemma. Perception: Recognize that a problem exists. Interpretation: Identify competing explanations for the problem, and evaluate the drivers behind those interpretations.
Judgment: Sift through various possible actions or responses and determine which is more justifiable. Motivation: Examine the competing commitments which may distract from a more moral course of action and then prioritize and commit to moral values over other personal, institutional or social values. Action: Follow through with action that supports the more justified decision. Reflection in action. Group stages[ edit ] According to B.
Aubrey Fisher, there are four stages or phases that should be involved in all group decision-making:  Orientation. Members meet for the first time and start to get to know each other. Once group members become familiar with each other, disputes, little fights and arguments occur. Group members eventually work it out. The group begins to clear up vague opinions by talking about them.
Members finally make a decision and provide justification for it. It is said that establishing critical norms in a group improves the quality of decisions, while the majority of opinions called consensus norms do not.
Functional conflicts are mostly the questioning the managers assumptions in their decision making and dysfunctional conflicts are like personal attacks and every action which decrease team effectiveness. Thereby, it is a continuous and dynamic activity that pervades all other activities pertaining to the organization. Since it is an ongoing activity, decision making process plays vital importance in the functioning of an organization. Since intellectual minds are involved in the process of decision making, it requires solid scientific knowledge coupled with skills and experience in addition to mental maturity.
Further, decision making process can be regarded as check and balance system that keeps the organisation growing both in vertical and linear directions. It means that decision making process seeks a goal.
The goals are pre-set business objectives, company missions and its vision. To achieve these goals, company may face lot of obstacles in administrative, operational, marketing wings and operational domains.
Such problems are sorted out through comprehensive decision making process. No decision comes as end in itself, since in may evolve new problems to solve.