Decision Making – An Art Or Science?


In business environment, success is measured by tangible results. Results are achieved after performing certain actions. Actions are results of decisions made. Hence success in the corporate world depends upon quality of decision making process. Today Indian economy is more integrated with world economy. Competition is intense across sectors. In such a situation quality of decisions taken at different levels matters more than ever before.

Decision making is self dominated action. Some people may try to democratize the process. But ultimately it’s the individual who takes a decision. That decision becomes property of an individual. This particular individual experiences pain or gain based on results achieved. As decision making is self dominated action, organization must tolerate failures. This world is full of uncertainties. Every decision has some amount of risk element. Process of trial and error will help individuals hone skills of decision making.

Some say that decision making skill is inherent and cannot be taught. Others say that decision making skill can be sharpened through practice, training and experience. I feel that latter theory sounds good. Decision making process is structured. It involves certain steps.

First step is identification of problem. It is absolutely necessary to identify correct problem. Identification of correct problem is as good as half the problem solved. What is necessary at this stage is to separate problem from symptoms.

Next step is gathering information. There are various sources of information. One can gather information from publications, customers, competitors and employees. Process of gathering information must be organized scientifically because quality and accuracy of information will lead to right knowledge and wisdom.

Then comes generation and evaluation of alternatives. Generation of alternatives can be done through brainstorming. Evaluation of generated alternatives can be supported by various qualitative and quantitative techniques which leads to proper choice of alternative.

Some managers base their decisions on intuition. Intuition is personal wit applied in real life situation. But sound decisions can not be made solely on the basis of intuition. Decision making process is situation specific. And every situation is different. What worked in the past in specific situation may not work in another kind of situation. So intuition can be used only as a complimentary tool.

Failure of big corporations in recent times proves the importance of decision making skills. No decision is good or bad. Quality of decision making process can be judged only on the basis of results. Accuracy of decision making process to get better results can be ensured only by making it more systematic and scientific. Posted by Ajay at 10:53 PM 0 comments Links to this post Labels: Decisionmaking, decisionmaking models, decisionmaking process, decisionmaking skills, decisionmaking theory, group decisionmaking, rational decisionmaking, shared decisionmaking Do we have a gender bias?

In the last few decades, the workforce demographics have changed drastically. While the participation of women has gone up, they are still lagging behind their male counterparts not only in numbers, but also in job content and rewards.

Gender bias is reflected in placement of women in non strategic position which are essntialy low status and low income occupations. Men still feel that women need to be given jobs which suit her personality rather than knowledge, expertise. In such occupations like typist, telephone operators, receptionist they have to work long hours with minimum perks and benefits. Confinement to peripheral jobs failed to bring out hidden talent in women.

Certain preconceived notions rooted strongly in the minds of managerial class made them perceive talent of women as inferior to that of men. The assumption that a women’s nature doesn’t permit any risk influenced underutilization of women talent. Men cannot visualize women issuing instructions. He doesn’t associate her with firm determination or ability to manage crisis.

Films and TV soaps are the mirror of society. Even today majority of the films portray woman as housewife to please predominantly male audience. Mass media in developed world still portrays sensual image of women and violent image of a men.

If we break management role into several subroles, function of management will be perceived as more masculine than feminine. This perception spills over into the workplace also and it becomes the barrier to career advancement of women. Organization can not assume that just by hiring and promoting women, they can address the issue of gender diversity. Its necessary to correct gender stereotypic bias. Unless this bias is eradicated, women managers will always be undermined irrespective of their abilities and efforts.

Strengths associated with women are harmony, balance, teamwork, collaboration. They emphasize on building relationships. Their workstyle is more democratic. They are good at multitasking as they have handled variety of tasks since time immemorable. They are good at handling stressful situations. They resort to positive ways of tackling stress. Whereas reaction of men is ‘fight or flight’ in stressful situation. Inherent traits of men compel them to suppress feelings and internalize stress.

In today’s competitive era, companies are resorting to delayering of the organization structure. Today’s requirement is that of lean and mean organizations. Traditional masculine approach of top down task oriented management is not going to work in today’s flatter organizations. Relationship based democratic style of management used by women is more suitable for today’s organization. Companies must encourage gender diversity so that they have access to strengths which are inherent to women. They must develop strategies to retain existing women. Accepting gender diversity will help companies in realizing unrealized assets. Women constitute half of the population. If talent of half of the population is not realized, no company or nation can think of progressing at a faster pace


You may also like...