Tools and Techniques: Effective Decision-Making
Organizations undergo the rigors of decision-making dilemmas nearly every day. Within these organizations, managers are expected to contribute their decision-making knowledge and skills to the process. Some organizations succeed and some fail in their decision-making attempts due to lack of quantitative and qualitative participation in the decision-making process. For an organization, having the necessary tools and techniques for decision-making is as important as having an effective staff to put them into action. This paper will discuss the tools and the techniques of good decision-makers and examine the outcome of their application. Following is a decision-making model created by Professor Hossein Arsham. This model is very similar to most organizational decision-making models and provides and effective strategic approach to decision-making. 1.
Identification of the Problem: Although this is the first stage this may be where morality can have the greatest impact. This is often the most difficult stage for the researcher and if it is not completed properly the results will be unsatisfactory regardless of the quality (or morality) of the work that follows. The framework that is built here constrains or sets the scope of the project. From an ethical perspective the first question of importance may be – is this really a problem at all? More times than not the focus of problems relates to the reduction of costs or increase in revenue (or that may be my business bias). At this point the problem needs to be resolved by a choice of means, which many find unfavorable. Some proponents of ethical decision-making challenge decision makers to evaluate whether the perceived problem truly is a problem. It simple but in reality the process of considering all the potential alternatives, including do nothing, is not common. Business leaders are engrained with the belief that flexibility, change and adaptation are the answers. 2.
What is the Goal: The dilemma here is whether the goal is to solve the problem in an ethical manner or simply determine the most ethical goal. The conflict here is do you select a goal and then try to implement it in an effective matter later or do you choose your goals based on ethics. In a perfect world it would be optimal to choose a goal with ethics in mind, but in reality the maximized business goal is optimized by considering ethics in only a very general sense at this stage. Eliminate the few obvious options that are unlikely to have any ethical implementation and proceed forward. 3.
Possible Actions: Pending your theory on determining the goal will have a huge influence on the types of actions that make sense. Actions are primarily determined by the goal you wish to achieve. Nevertheless, ethics should influence the actions you are willing to take within the scope of your goal. 4.
Predict Outcome: This may be the one stage in which ethics requires no change. Quantitative techniques are straightforward and merely calculate the results based on your inputs. The age-old computer theory of ‘garbage in – garbage’ out applies. 5.
Pick the best alternative: Is the best alternative simply the predicted outcome which maximizes goals or does it merely provide empirical results for comparison (with which you can rid the outliers). Formulate the choice as a maxim for all similar cases is a concept those in favor of ethics will promote. This is a recurring theme which involves looking outside any particular situation and seeing the forest for the trees. 6.
Implement Decision: In many cases this is an area where morality already plays a significant role in current business practice. Unions and significant regulations exist to ensure change is ‘ethical’. However, I would submit that real influence is found long before implementation. At this point you are just trying to minimize or trivialize perceived problems in the selected decision. Nonetheless for that...
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