Decision making can be regarded as the mental processes (cognitive process) resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternatives. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice. In other words it is simply the method of choosing among available options i.e., purposeful selection from among a set of alternatives in light of a given objective.
Decision making precedes many of life’s most important events: choosing whom to marry, which house to buy, which stock to invest in, whether to have just one more drink before hitting the road, whether to have surgery, and whether to quit smoking, to name a few examples. Properly executed decision making gives rise to some of the most elevated human abilities, Such as ethics, politics, and financial reasoning. Derangements of decision making underlie some of the more tragic consequences of Psychiatric illnesses such as drug addiction, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, mania, and personality disorders.
From a psychological perspective, it is necessary to examine individual decisions in the context of a set of needs, preferences an individual has and values they seek. From a cognitive perspective, the decision making process must be regarded as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment. From a normative perspective, the analysis of individual decisions is concerned with the logic of decision making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to. Yet, at another level, it might be regarded as a problem solving activity which is terminated when a satisfactory solution is found. Therefore, decision making is a reasoning or emotional process which can be rational or irrational, can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.
... bring out their point of views before making a decision. “The six step decision making process is a balanced decision making process. It is based upon thinking about ... to improve their decision making skills and communication skills. The process of business decision making is of the utmost importance for effective management. Decision making process in management ...
Decision making can be hard. Almost any decision involves some conflicts or dissatisfaction. The difficult part is to pick one solution where the positive outcome can outweigh possible losses. Avoiding decisions often seems easier. Yet, making one’s own decisions and accepting the consequences, is the only way to stay in control of one’s time, one’s success, and one’s life.
Decisions that are based on a foundation of knowledge and sound reasoning can lead a person into long-term prosperity; conversely, decisions that are made on the basis of flawed logic, emotionalism, or incomplete information can quickly put a person out of commission. Bad decisions can cripple even groups and companies leading to their malfunctioning.
Ultimately, what drives a person’s success is the quality of decisions, and their implementation. Good decisions mean good life.
problem analysis VS. DECISION MAKING
It’s important to differentiate between problem analysis and decision making. The concepts are completely separate from one another. Problem analysis must be done first, then the information gathered in that process may be used towards decision making.
• Analyze performance, what should the results be against what they actually are
• Problems are merely deviations from performance standards
• Problem must be precisely identified and described
• Problems are caused by some change from a distinctive feature
• Something can always be used to distinguish between what has and hasn’t been effected by a cause
• Causes to problems can be deducted from relevant changes found in analyzing the problem
• Most likely cause to a problem is the one that exactly explains all the facts
... rational model. The first step of the rational decision-making model is to define the problem, the need, or the opportunity. Although this ... you. It is very helpful at this point to establish objective criteria against which to compare the alternatives. This is also ... to select the best solution based on the evaluation and analyses conducted in step 3. Once the first three steps have ...
• Objectives must first be established
• Objectives must be classified and placed in order of importance
• Alternative actions must be developed
• The alternative must be evaluated against all the objectives
• The alternative that is able to achieve all the objectives is the tentative decision
• The tentative decision is evaluated for more possible consequences
• The decisive actions are taken, and additional actions are taken to prevent any adverse consequences from becoming problems and starting both systems (problem analysis and decision making) all over again
The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), orbitofrontal cortex (and the overlapping ventromedial prefrontal cortex) are brain regions involved in decision making processes. A recent neuroimaging study, found distinctive patterns of neural activation in these regions depending on whether decisions were made on the basis of personal volition or following directions from someone else. Patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex have difficulty making advantageous decisions.
INFLUENCE OF BRIGGS MYERS TYPE
According to behavioralist Isabel Briggs Myers, a person’s decision making process depends to a significant degree on their cognitive style. Myers developed a set of four bi-polar dimensions, called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The terminal points on these dimensions are: thinking and feeling; extroversion and introversion; judgment and perception; and sensing and intuition. She claimed that a person’s decision making style correlates well with how they score on these four dimensions. For example, someone who scored near the thinking, extroversion, sensing, and judgment ends of the dimensions would tend to have a logical, analytical, objective, critical, and empirical decision making style. However, some psychologists say that the MBTI lacks reliability and validity and is poorly constructed.
Other studies suggest that these national or cross-cultural differences exist across entire societies. For example, Maris Martinsons has found that American, Japanese and Chinese business leaders each exhibit a distinctive national style of decision making.
... , Greyhound executive should have used classical model that describes decision making with complete information because of some reasonable evidences below. Firstly, they ... under the behavioral model, through which decisions are made with limited information and bounded rationality. If I was an executive, I would consider ...
OPTIMIZING VS. SATISFICING
BOUNDED RATIONALITY- Herbert Simon coined the phrase “bounded rationality” to express the idea that human decision-making is limited by various factors.
We are, to some extent, rational beings because we try to logically understand things and make sensible choices. However, the world is large and complex, and we do not have the capacity to understand everything. We also have a limited time in which we have to make decisions. We are also limited by the schemas we have and other decisional limitations. As a result, our decisions are not fully thought through and we can only be rational within limits such as time and cognitive capability. Herbert Simon indicated that there are thus two major causes of bounded rationality:
* Limitations of the human mind
* The structure within which the mind operates
Simon also defined two cognitive styles: maximizers try to make an optimal decision, whereas satisficers simply try to find a solution that is “good enough”. Maximizers tend to take longer making decisions due to the need to maximize performance across all variables and make tradeoffs carefully; they also tend to more often regret their decisions. Bounded Rationality complements rationality as optimization, which views decision making as a fully rational process of finding an optimal choice given the information available. Another way to look at bounded rationality is that, because decision-makers lack the ability and resources to arrive at the optimal solution, they instead apply their rationality only after having greatly simplified the choices available. Thus the decision-maker is a satisficer, one seeking a satisfactory solution rather than the optimal one.
COGNITIVE AND PERSONAL BIASES
Biases can creep into our decision making processes. Many different people have made a decision about the same question (e.g. “Should I have a doctor look at this troubling cancer symptom I’ve discovered?” “Why did I ignore the evidence that the project was going out of topic?”) and then craft potential cognitive interventions aimed at improving decision making outcomes.
Below is a list of some of the more commonly debated cognitive biases.
The Essay on People who make decisions based on emotion and justify those decisions with logic afterwards are poor decision makers
... the positive and negative role emotions and logic play in our decision making ... in suggesting that all those who make decisions based on emotion are poor decision-makers, it may be warranted to discuss both ... logic are complements to each other, and facilitate the decision making process. Decisions made on the basis of logic alone may not ...
It was suggested by Scott Plous, 1993 and is also known as Selective search for evidence. It says that we tend to be willing to gather facts that support certain conclusions but disregard other facts that support different conclusions. Individuals who are highly defensive in this manner show significantly greater left prefrontal cortex activity as measured by EEG than do less defensive individuals.
Premature termination of search for evidence
We tend to accept the first alternative that looks like it might work. And accept it as it is the only solution and no other way is possible to do it.
Unwillingness to change thought patterns that we have used in the past in the face of new circumstances. We become so obsessed with our prevailing thoughts and traditions that changing it becomes a impossible task.
We actively screen-out information that we do not think is important. We mistakenly believe that whatever we know is only correct and the other source is wrong, even though in reality it may be more appropriate. In one demonstration of this effect, discounting of arguments with which one disagrees (by judging them as untrue or irrelevant) was decreased by selective activation of right prefrontal cortex.
Wishful thinking or optimism bias
We tend to want to see things in a positive light and this can distort our perception and thinking.
Supportive bias occurs when we distort our memories of chosen and rejected options to make the chosen options seem more attractive.
Recency and Primacy
We tend to place more attention on more recent information and either ignore or forget more distant information. The opposite effect in the first set of data or other information is termed Primacy effect .(Plous, 1993).
A willingness to believe what we have been told most often and by the greatest number of different sources is the only correct thing.
Anchoring and adjustment
Decisions are unduly influenced by initial information that shapes our view of subsequent information.
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Peer pressure to conform to the opinions held by the group. Many of the students do not pay more emphasis on studies because their friends think that it is not that important and studying during exam time is enough.
Source credibility bias
We reject something if we have a bias against the person, organization, or group to which the person belongs. We are inclined to accept a statement by someone we like. We believe more the words of our friends rather than strangers.
Incremental decision making and escalating commitment
We look at a decision as a small step in a process and this tends to perpetuate a series of similar decisions. This can be contrasted with zero-based decision making.
We tend to attribute our success to our abilities and talents, but we attribute our failures to bad luck and external factors. We attribute other’s success to good luck, and their failures to their mistakes.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
We conform to the decision making expectations that others have of someone in our position. This is also known as Role fulfillment.
Underestimating uncertainty and the illusion of control
We tend to underestimate future uncertainty because we tend to believe we have more control over events than we really do. We believe we have control to minimize potential problems in our decisions.
STYLES OF DECISION MAKING
To understand the decision making styles covered here, we must first know the criteria used to distinguish the styles. The first criterion is how much information the decision maker collects. The second relates to how the decision maker focuses on decision making. These two criteria work together to categorize five types of decision makers. These styles are-
Decisive Decision Makers
Decisive decision makers are satisficers and unifocused. They collect limited information and act quickly. Then they are unwavering in supporting and sticking to their decisions. This style of decision making requires self confidence in one’s gut feelings. It is often the style of CEOs and successful entrepreneurs.
... of accounting is to provide decision-makers with accurate and useful information for making business decisions. Good accounting information leads to better decisions, which lead to improved ... of not-for-profits). Accountants have realized that the information needs of external decision makers (such as stockholders, creditors, potential investors, government, labor ...
Flexible Decision Makers
Flexible decision makers are satisficers and multifocused. They collect limited information but are more flexible in choosing solutions than decisive decision makers. If the first solution they decide on falls short, they will select another solution. As more information becomes available, they are quick to change decisions based on the new information. Many small business owners use this style of decision making.
Hierarchical Decision Makers
Hierarchical decision makers are maximizers and unifocused. They collect large amounts of information and then select one best solution. They plan how to implement the solution in detail and advance of implementing it. This style of decision making is common in government. Many USA presidents have used it.
Integrative Decision Makers
Integrative decision makers are maximizers and multifocused. They collect and evaluate information, but select more than one solution. They may then use computerized scenarios to test which solution works best. Scientists are often integrative decision makers. They collect all the information they can, determine several possible solutions and then systematically test each solution.
Systemic Decision Makers
Systemic decision makers blend integrative and hierarchical styles in a two-step process. First they collect as much information as possible for multiple solutions. Then they prioritize solutions by the best criteria from the information or for their specific situation.
DECISION MAKING TECHNIQUES
Some of them are-
One identifies options, branching out of an initial bipolar choice to make, by projecting likely outcomes. The limitation of this technique lies mainly in that it forces you to address the problem from only two possible avenues of solution right from the start.
The Pareto Analysis
This is a technique to get the most “bang for the buck”! It is based on the Pareto Principle whereby you must identify which actions will let you get 80% of the possible positive results by doing only 20% of the work. It is known as the 80/20 rule.
Pros & Cons
In this one lists the advantages and disadvantages of each possible decision and attempts to identify the best possible outcome whereby the advantages outnumber the disadvantages.
Is a variation of the Pros & Cons technique adding a third possibility called “interesting”
PMI – Plus (positive points), Minus (negative points), Interesting (points of interest)
Underneath ‘Plus’, write down all the positive results of taking the action. Underneath ‘Minus’ write down all the negative effects. In the ‘Interesting’ column write down the implications and possible outcomes of taking the action, whether positive, negative, or uncertain.
PMI Score = (Plus) + (Minus) + (Interesting)
To compare ideas one can allocate 1 point to every positive, -1 to every minus and 0.5 to every interesting point. Total up points for quick view to compare.
Six Thinking Hats
This technique can help reduce some of the shortcomings of any one of decision making styles. Edward De Bono wrote a book, titled “Six Thinking Hats”, about this very powerful technique back in 1985.
It may be easily understood from the project that the phenomenon of Decision making is something which is performed by each and every individual. To be a successful person one should try to decide in such an efficient manner that the solution that he reaches is free from all kinds of biases. Being a law student it is important to understand and analyze this power of decision making. Law binds the whole society and is meant for proper functioning of the state. The various institutions of legal field also require to run efficiently and for this purpose it is important for the persons heading them to make proper decisions. Example,
Judges are considered to be the law interpreting authorities and the decision which they give during a case is considered to be the ultimate command and each and every person is bound by it. So it is necessary for a judge to decide in such a way that it does not take way any individuals interest.
Lawyer’s job is to support his client and provide him justice but the lawyer should also keep in mind the interest of the country. A lawyer can have his own interest regarding money or anything but he should be careful in choosing his client. Apart from this the decision making can also be involved in choosing arguments in support of his case.
Parliamentarians are the law making authorities and they should carefully decide what issues to be raised, how to be raised and for whom to be raised.