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Decision Making

Home Free essays Management Decision Making


There are various situations when individuals and organizations have to make decisions that even though they appear favorable to their situation, may not be especially in the long run. This is due to the prevalence of paradoxes and conflicts that occur in the daily decision making processes. It is therefore essential for decision makers in organizations to be aware of these paradoxes so that they can take requisite measures towards avoiding or controlling their occurrence. This is because they may put the organization at risk and rather than solve the problem, the organization may find itself in more risk than earlier contemplated.

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The exposure of organizations to risk and uncertainty can be explained through the use of various scholarly and experiential resources. There is a known tendency for individuals making decisions to act on the basis of self interest. This means that every individual is less concerned with the long term effects of a decision as long as he accesses the targeted benefits. Most of such individuals act independently and rationally to ensure that their well being is adequately represented. Few people consider the underlying relationships and consequences that their choices have in the long run. This is expounded by Hardin (1968) in his tragedy of the commons.

When individuals make their decisions in a rational way, they aim at maximizing the benefits that accrue from exploiting a particular resource or opportunity. However they fail to encompass the impacts their choices would have on resources. This is because the choices of the individuals are unlimited but the resources that they are choosing to exploit are finite in nature. It therefore means that at some point these resources will be depleted due to over exploitation. Such behavior then leads to suffering of the majority due to actions of a few. This is because in most cases, a persons choice is guided by the personal considerations rather than those of the entire community.

In other decision making scenarios, there is a tendency to fall into the trap of the winners curse (Bazerman & Samuelson 1983). Most decision makers have insufficient information that they can rely on to make accurate decisions. This is because in most cases, their decisions are shrouded in uncertainty due to limited information that could have permitted the evaluation of alternatives and value of their decisions. Due to limited information and the internal urge to win, individual decision makers often find themselves making overestimations and over valuations of the estimated benefits that would accrue from decisions.

The lack of access to all information and the increased urge to win leads to the lack of objective assessment of issues. This eventually puts the decision maker in dilemma because he may find that he has achieved what he had targeted but upon evaluation of all available information, he finds that his earlier enthusiasm and urge to achieve was based on miscalculations and inferior decision making. It would therefore be prudent for the decision maker to evaluate the degree of uncertainty that surrounds most of the choices he has to make. This is due to the lack of vital information on available options which leads to subjective evaluations that in most cases are misleading (Platt 1973).

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In such situations an organization may find itself is losing a lot of resources since most of the engagements in the industry are based on insufficient information that can be prejudicial and risky.

It is also vital to appreciate the organizational anarchy that is normally involved in decision making. This is because problems, solutions and the decision makers should be viewed as distinct rather than connected. This is as expounded by the garbage can model (Cohen, March & Olsen 1972). This is because there is no orderly process that determines the path followed by decisions when they are arrived at as a solution to problems. They are outcomes of various streams that take place in an organization. Problems can be said to be the result of various performance gaps that emanate from failure by organizational processes to predict the future. Problems cannot be said to be the main triggers of decision making. They can only do this if the problem is of severe nature but in most cases they can be solved through attention.

Solutions are distinct and mainly exist as a result of advocacy and preparations amongst professionals in an industry. They result from frequent brainstorming sessions and can be said to be enhanced when some of the participants in such sessions volunteer to play roles such as the devils advocate. It would then be true to say that most solutions exist without prior knowledge of the nature or complexity of the problems they will solve.

There are periods when organizations have sessions to map or adapt to particular forms of behavior even though there are no actual underlying circumstances for doing so. They hold occasional decision making opportunities even though the problem being addressed is unrelated to the decisions made.

It is also evident that most of the participants in such decision making processes do not work forever in those organizations. There are variations that occur between the problems and solutions.


It is therefore evident that organizations must be aware of the fact that the procedure of decision making is ridden with various traps that must be noticed to reduce the risk. It is vital for organizational decision makers to consult widely and gather as much information as possible so as to increase their evaluative capabilities before making decisions. This reduces the risk of falling into judgmental traps and improves the quality of decision made.

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