Decision comes from the action word “deciding” whic h is freedom to choose from among alternatives without externally imposed coercion, freedom to conceive alternatives from which to choose. Decisions are made within boundaries set-up by many constraints most of which are,
the prevailing and unalterable features of the social, political, economic and technological environment.
The individual’s interpretation of the legal, moral, ethnical and religions limits to possible courses of action. The locality of the “culture” that has been inherited and learnt by the individual, at least to the extent that he cannot perceive that many possible course of action are unavailable to him as a result of his subconscious interpretation of “Custom”.
Here decision – making is seen as a creative and ju dicial. By being creative is meant that decision – making is an imag ination in visualizing alternative, which is to consider more, different and better alternatives. The import of this is that whereas it is possible to be hemmed in by cultural limits in considering alternatives amongst which to make a choice, it is also possible and it is creative to do so, to expand the alternatives and make better decisions.
By Decision – making being judicial is meant that D ecision – making juxtaposes values with facts and information available as well as the likely impact and consequences of what each alternative entails.
According to Smiddy, an authority on the concept of Decision – making, “Deciding is a matter of value, judgement and of wi sdom”. The quality of value judgement and of wisdom, the quality of value judgement will be improved to the extent that they are influenced by factual rather than erroneous or inaccurate information.
It is an acceptable fact that judgements used in deciding, are value judgements, and then effective deciding requires a well-developed sense of values, inherent in the individual decision-maker. One way to develop the sense of values of the individual in order to improve his decision- making ability and thus the quality of his decisions is to orient him towards the objectives of the organization for which he works. Each decision can be specifically defined as the responsibility of a specific position. The incumbent of this position is personally and individually responsible and accountable for the results and the consequences of the decisions so designated as his responsibilities.
Enlarging Decision – Making Capacity
– Leaders make decisions and it is made known to the entire staff of the organization. Here the leader identifies a problem or realizes the existence of such an identified problem, ponders over possible decisions and chooses one. He at times takes no input from his subordinates.
– The leader sells his decision. Here he keeps problems and decision making to himself. However rather than announce the decision solely made by him, he now sells the decision to his subordinate through soft persuasion especially, a democratic leader.
– The leader presents his ideas and invites questions. Here decisions are already made and questions are invited by the subordinates for the sole purpose of clarification.
– The leader presents a tentative decision subject to change.
Here the leader has thought over the problem and found the solution. The problem and the tentative solution are rendered for debate but the final decisions are the leaders.
– The leader presents the problem, gets suggestion and then makes decision.
Here the leader comes up without a pre-concerned solution to the problem. He uses his group as a resource base to obtain answers. At the end however, he alone takes the decision.
– The leader defines the limits and requests the groups to take a decision.
Here the leader passes to the group usually with himself as a member, the right to make decisions. Before doing this, he defines the problem and the boundaries within which the decision must be made.
The leader permits the group to make decision within the prescribed limits. Here the group has absolute freedom to identify and diagnose the problems, develop alternative procedures for solving it an deciding on the alternative to use. The executive, depending on the urgency surrounding the issue and the knowledge of his subordinates may decide to use, any of the enumerated styles in decision making.
Where a decision is made the sole responsibility of an individual much as it is advisable to tap the knowledge of others both colleagues and subordinates, it is crucial to bear in mind that the final decisions is the responsibility of the one into whose hands it is entrusted.
However there is a need to a decentralized decision – making in the organization.
According to Peter Drunker, there are five steps in decision – making:
– Defining the problem
– Analyzing the problem
– Developing alternative solutions
– Deciding upon the solution
– Converting the decision into effective action.
It is pertinent to state here that not all decision have to go through those five steps inorder for decisions to be made. Management scholars have divided decision–making into two broad categories:-
– Non- Programmed decisions.
Programmed decisions are those which deal with problems permitting well–defined search and choice procedures to be use d each time they occur. The problems giving rise to them, are repetitive and so solution can almost be fabricated.
But Non-programmed decisions on the other hand involves problems which are often new and highly ill-defined making it difficult to tell what factors are applicable for obtaining a desired solution. Normally for such problems, need arises to shift the focus of decision making upstairs.
Improving Decision –Making Ability of Executives
Some decision–making is a product of value judgement and depends too much on the individual and as individuals are gifted differently, then can decision-making ability be improved so that the executives can earn benefits.
One way which it can be learnt is picking the brain of successful decision- maker to catalogue the process he utilizes in so doing, such process can be studied, adopted and taught. However, this is not easy as many as good decision makers do not know how they were made.
Another way of improving decision making ability is making more of them.
The third way of improving in the quality of decisions in organizations rather than decision–making ability of individuals, is to drop those who are incapable of making decisions.
Source National Open University of Nigeria