Decision-making is one of the essential processes in the day-to-day activities of each person, especially the one in a management and leadership position. The decision-making process is complex as it involves several steps and can be categorized into four main styles. Each of these steps and styles is different and plays a unique role in the decision-making process.
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Decision Making Steps
Decision-making is a step-by-step process, which allows people to seek solutions to problems by weighing evidence, examining alternatives, and deciding on the appropriate path or measures to undertake. The process involves seven steps which include:
- Identifying the problem or opportunity that requires a decision. Managers are required to identify the need for a decision by recognizing the real problem or opportunity.
- Gathering relevant information. The step involves gathering information, which is related to the problem or opportunity requiring a decision. The information can be gathered through either internal assessment or external sources such as market evaluation or paid consultants.
- Identifying the alternatives. Possessing the relevant information regarding a problem or opportunity, managers can identify several alternatives, which are essential to the objectives of the organization.
- Weighing the evidence. Upon identifying multiple alternatives, managers have to establish the pros and cons of each of them. Eventually, the alternatives are placed in a priority order based on their possible benefits to the organization.
- Choosing among the alternatives. Once the evidence is weighed, managers have to pick the alternative that best suits the needs of the organization.
- Taking Action. This step involves developing a plan that will make the decision tangible and achievable.
- Reviewing the decision. In this final step, managers have to consider the implications of the decision after a specific predetermined duration of time to evaluate whether the need identified in step one has been solved.
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Four Decision Making Styles
A decision-making process comprises four different styles, which include:
- Directive decision-making. It is a style where individuals make decisions based on their personal knowledge.
- Analytic decision-making. It is a style in which individuals seek further information and advice from others before making a decision.
- Conceptual decision-making. This is an approach whereby individuals depend on intuition and high-risk decisions in their decision-making process.
- Behavioral decision-making. It is a group-oriented style in which decisions are made through consulting the members on the best alternative from several options available to them.
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Example of a Rational Decision-Making Process
Two years ago, I went to a computer store to purchase a laptop. Initially, Lenovo was my preferred brand. I decided to seek information about Lenovo laptops from friends and on the Internet. As a result, I found out that HP and Dell laptops were good alternatives to Lenovo laptops. I had to take into consideration the pros and cons of the three brands before deciding to purchase an HP 15 laptop. Since buying the laptop, I have done several reviews on my decision, and I am happy with it.
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To sum up, the decision-making process plays a significant role in the achievement of both personal and organizational goals. In this sense, decision makers have to follow the seven steps of a decision-making process to ensure the decision is right. Notably, individuals can be classified according to the four decision styles: directive, conceptual, analytic or behavioral.
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