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Decision making is a cognitive process that involves selecting the course of action in a situation with various alternatives. Decision making is referred to as a mental construct because one cannot see the decision but can only see the behavior which indicates the decision that has been made. Decision making is a very important aspect in most professions since specialists are supposed to apply their expertise in making informed decisions in their fields of work.
Following the works of sociologist Carl Jung, behaviorist Briggs Myers concluded that a person’s decision making ability has been associated with four bipolar psychological dimensions. These are thinking and feeling, judgment and perception, extraversion and introversion, and sensing and intuition. The accuracy of the decision made by an individual depends on his or hers score in these dimensions. For example, the most accurate decision can be achieved by a combination of thinking, extroversion, sensing and judgment (Sanders, 1999).
Decision making skills and techniques
Decision making skills and techniques are applied in solving a problem that requires choosing among alternatives. The most important aspect in decision making is to choose the option whose end results will overcome all the possible losses. To acquire the best decision making skills, one has to us the best decision making techniques. There are eight steps in decision making techniques which need to be observed in making informed decisions. The first step in decision making is identifying the purpose of the decision to be made. This involves defining the problem that needs to be solved through the particular decisions, and the reason for solving this problem. The second step is to gather information concerning all the factors that may be involved in the problem. The third step is to identify the principles that will guide in making the judgment over the various alternatives. This involves defining the standards to be observed and the criteria for guiding the decision.
The fourth step involves brainstorming and listing the various alternatives available. This entails generating all the necessary ideas for the various alternatives. These ideas can be obtained through brainstorming among those who may be affected by the decision made. The fifth step involves evaluating the alternatives considering the consequences they may bring. This evaluation may be done considering the standards and judgment of the decision maker. This can also be done by determining the advantages and disadvantages o each of the alternatives. After evaluating the alternatives, the other step involves determining the best alternative. This is the one whose outcomes will have minimal losses. The seventh step invoolves putting the decision into practice. This is where the decision is transformed into a specific action plan of the required steps. The final step involves evaluating the outcomes of the decision and the action plan. Through this evaluation, one is able to determine the lessons learnt and enables the decision maker to further develop the decision. If the decision is found to be satisfactory, it is then carried on. If not satisfactory, the necessary adjustments are made (Eddowes, Stansfield, & Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, GB, 1991).
On the other hand is group decision making which is guided by various principles such as the powerful person deciding, for example in dictatorship, everyone participating in some class of meta decisions for example in democracy, everyone participating in al decisions for example in direct decisions and everyone participating to the extent that he or she is affected by the decision for example in non capitalist and non coordinatorist economic models.
Decision making involves reaching at the option whose outcome will have the least negative impacts. It is therefore very important to use the right skills and follow the right techniques in decision making. These apply to all types of decisions from personal decisions, group decisions and decisions on business matters.