Decision making according to me –
First I must tell what I know about decision making. Well we constantly keep taking decisions in our life. Like my decision to appear in Civil Services Examination leaving my full proof career in engineering and my job. Why did I made such decision?
Well, its was a mixture of my aspirations, expectations from people known to me, my background, my own pro’s and con’s, and consultation from my family. Whatever be the case final decision was mine.
So, what I think decision making is all about following –
(a) Knowing the situation and problem where you have to take decision. (b) Knowing all the possible alternatives before finalising the final alternative which is best (c) consultations from peers, subordinates, superiors (d) requirements of the environment (for eg. if I’m working in a company what are company’s broad goals and are they compatible with my goal). (e) my own survival while I take a decision (f) different constrains, pressures and compulsions working on me while taking a decision.
Now, lets move to the theoretical aspects and see if SR Maheshwari has something else to offer other than this simplistic structure how to make a decision –
Introduction – He says that while in any organisation we constantly face problems and we have to find solutions to them. For working these solutions there should be a proper structure and flow of information. Also, many relationships are needed to be build while taking decisions.
Decision making – Two things matter (a) information that we have (b) the outer political atmosphere
Approaches to decision making –
(a) The bargaining approach – This approach tells that the decisions are made by the fact of bargaining between the parties involved in the decision making process. The relative strength of the parties matter more than the rational solution in such cases. Here, some parties may be totally neglected while taking a decision. Here, incremental-ism is followed in which the further decisions are based on the present structure and decisions taken till that date, while just doing structural and minor changes.
for eg -During 18th century Britain wanted to have opium trade with China, where it was having a huge market, but opium consumption was primarily banned in Britain itself. When the China opposed it they waged a war, and finally china had to settle with a compromise because that’s what they could afford with the bargaining power they had in the complex situation.
(b) Participative decision making approach – As the name suggests here, various stakeholders are allowed to participate and they are consulted before final decision is made. This is the basic tenant of Democracy, and also this is used in India in Local Governance in Rural and Urban bodies ( panchayati raj and municipality in towns). Some questions that are asked in this are what should be the level of consultation or sharing i.e who should be asked, and upto what level. For eg – Delhi government want’s to increase the tax on water supply. So should the normal public be consulted, or should it be totally administrative decision based on situations.
(c) Public Choice – This approach suggests that the bureaucracy is self serving, and rational which takes decisions accordingly to promote their own career and the budget under them. So, the basic decisions should be contracted out to public, means that the government areas should be minimized and privatization should be promoted. The basic assumption that Government servants are always self-seeking is wrong, also its not about efficiency every-time, but also its about effectiveness and a general value and direction which government differ from private players.
Here it says that while making any decisions, we tend to collect data, and if we collect data very deeply then we are overwhelmed by so much data that making decisions become very tedious. Also, a huge data collection machinery is required.
So, in order to simplify it, just have a general data collection of whole domain, but do specific focused data collection on troubled areas, which need more focus and are important. This means that you are using ‘rationalism’ (focused data) as well as ‘incrementalism’ (general data)
THE GARBAGE CAN MODEL
This model tells that the real decisions are not made rationally but are made according to the organisational complexities prevalent during the problem phases. So, they say that as soon as the problems comes, people tend to find the solutions and put them all in one imaginary garbage can, while removing it one by one. So, overall its a backward looking and analyzing approach which doesn’t work well always in real situation where you have to take real time decisions.
NATURE OF DECISIONS
There are basically 2 types of decisions being made. First is based on rational scientific management model, where different techniques such as linear programming and queuing theory are used (no idea about what these 2 are), and second approach is Behavioral aspect in which social causes and psychological aspects are given more preference.
Actual decision is a mix of these 2 approaches. Regarding top level and bottom level, top level people generally take broad decisions which are known as policy decisions and smaller hierarchy takes sub-decisions on local conditions.
PROGRAMMED AND NON-PROGRAMMED DECISIONS
This is simplest concept. Programmed decisions are used for daily repetitive type work, where each case is almost same and you don’t have to make a new methodology to work out each case that’s coming to you for solving. For eg – you are a bank manager and you are assigned to give check books if customer fills up a form. Now, you don’t need new forms for every customer, or new format of check books to be given to them. So, they are called programmed – like just put problem in program and get solution.
Non-programmed decisions are those decisions which need innovations, creativity, ingenuity, consultation and a degree of risk taking. They can’t be solved by the familiar procedures or precedents. You have to develop new methodology every-time such situation arises. For eg – farmers protesting for price rise of MSP in rice and wheat.
SIMON’S BEHAVIOUR AlTERNATIVE MODEL
Please by heart these basic terms – (a) value premises – based on values i.e. ends and means to achieve it (b) factual premises – based on facts i.e. knowledge and not on emotions.
Also, Administrative man – He’s the decision maker who’s main priority is satisfaction. He works on his individual preferences, pressures, his own tilt towards a particular decision and thus is biased.
Rational Economic man – He’s the decision maker, who always works on maximizing the profit. His decisions are rational without any bias or emotional attachment.
Now, what’s the Simon’s model says is that the decisions should include both value premises and factual premises. So, before taking any decision proper research should be conducted and then all possible alternatives should be known. After that, there is a need to analyse the consequences of choosing a particular alternative one by one. Later, we need to compare all the consequences, and the best one among them should be chosen in end.
Pro’s of this method are that its a rational model, and brings maximum satisfaction for decision maker and profit for clients, while cons are that this method can’t work in all situations such as in case of riots, the administrator has to take quick decision of using tear gas or firing, without having time to analyse all particular approaches and their consequences.
ORGANISATIONAL CONTEXT OF DECISIONS
Now, what context do you need for decision making. Well there should be a helping atmosphere to make decisions.
So, according to this organisational context, (a) first there are definite rules and procedures which you will take help in coming to a decision (b) Decision space is limited by dividing work and span of control (c) Authority system i.e. giving a structure or hierarchy to the system. Its also helps in quality control, because broad decisions are taken at top level, but the larger-descriptive decisions are taken at bottom, which are then submitted to the top level guys, who can do scrutiny in it, thus improving quality.
Also, this system helps in developing a organisational atmosphere, gives time to socialize, and also have studies on employees and their needs and working qualities. ( Almost present bureaucratic type system). Interpersonal relations are important because any rift may hamper data flow, communications and thus reduce the optimum decision making capacity.