What is Decision Making?

One of the indispensable components of management of organisations is the decision making. Every manager is in decision-making. Herbert A. Simon equated management with decision making because whatever a manager does is nothing but decision-making. All the functions of management involve decision-making and hence it is all-pervasive in nature.

For instance, a manager has to decide the long-term objectives of the organisation, strategies, policies and procedures to be adopted to achieve these objectives; he has to decide how the jobs should be structured to match the jobs with the individuals in the organisation; he has to decide how to motivate the people to achieve higher performance; he has to decide what activities should be controlled and how to control these activities etc. In other words, decision- making is the substance of a manager’s job.

According to Felix M. Lopez “a decision represents a judgement: a final resolution of a conflict of needs, means, or goals; and a commitment to action made in the face of uncertainty, complexity and even irrationality”. Thus, a decision is a course of action which is consciously chosen for achieving a desired result. In the words of George R. Terry “Decision-making is the electing of an alternative from two or more alternatives, to determine an opinion or a course of action”. A more comprehensive definition of decision-making is given by Andrew Szliagyl in terms of the following: “Decision-making is a process involving information, choice of alternative actions, implementation, and evaluation that is directed to the achievement of certain stated goals”.

John McDonald stressing the importance of decision making opines. “The business executive by Profession is a decision maker. Uncertainty is his opponent, and overcoming it is his mission. Whether the outcome is a consequence of luck or wisdom, moment of revision is without doubt the creative event in the life of the executive.”

Thus, a decision is the selection of a course of action from several alternatives and the decision- making is the process of arriving at the final selection.

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