Looking Forward...

Looking Forward...
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Decision Making

Leaders are regularly confronted with problems that require decisions. A number of approach, tools, and techniques have been developed over the years to help leaders improve their decision-making capabilities. Robbins and DeCenzo (2007) composed a seven step process that provides a rational and analytical way of looking at decision. The steps include identification of the problem, collection of relevant information, development of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, selection of the best alternative, implementation of the decision, and follow up and evaluation. Leaders may face three conditions as they make a decision: certainty, risk, and uncertainty (Robbins et al., 2007). Certainty exists when the outcome and every alternative is known. As we know, most leaders’ decisions aren’t as clear-cut as this. A far more common situation leaders face is one of risk, in which they must estimate the likelihood of certain outcomes. Leaders are said to be making a decision under a condition of uncertainty when they are not certain about the outcome, and can’t even make a reasonable probability estimate.

Based on the above information, how to utilize this within my organization to assure effective decision making in human relations? I would prefer decisions in my organization being made by groups rather than by individual. In my opinion, if the adage “Two heads are better than one” translates into groups, it would be able to generate a greater number, and potentially a more creative set, of decision alternatives. Furthermore, it’ll provide more complete information, generates more alternatives, increases acceptance of a solution, and increases legitimacy. When members of a group meet face to face and interact with one another, they create the potential for groupthink. Robbins et al., (2007) suggested three ways of making group decision making more creative: brainstorming, the nominal group technique, and electronic meetings.

I should try to understand each other’s styles so that I can get along better. Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand those with different views. It would be ethical to try to figure out why they said what they said. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness. It should be alright to be provocative, but it would be better not only on one side but on all sides and with a fuller view. Let people listening to each other and changing their views in the process of reaching a “common ground.” We should have been less in confrontational format and change to a more positive and learning format by trying to learn something from the other person, even though we don’t agree with them. With a greater understanding of these differences, rather than collide, our words can come together in greater harmony, cooperation and collaboration. Differences do not have to create separation and tension. With a clear and positive understanding of our differences, mutual respect and trust between us increases and all levels of the discussion are enriched.

Group members must believe that the discussion will be fair, and trust one another in order to increase understanding of the issues, the organization, and themselves. People need to think about their personal values and the group’s values and beliefs. Inclusion allows for gathering information from significant stakeholders and we become aware of our own previously unknown assumptions. According to Brown (2008), different stakeholders can help to question strategic assumptions. Role flexibility allows for switches in roles, and enables the group to see the issues from different perspectives. It will also bring new understanding and the discussion itself becomes more public because the group will search for common values, reliable information, and shared assumptions.

I believe that through public discourse, participants have the information necessary to make a decision, that the arguments and reasons that determine the outcome are available to all, and that everyone has the opportunity to participate. Then decisions are made solely on the basis of their outcomes or consequences, and to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. The right view given is concerned with respecting and protecting the basic right of individuals—for example, the right for free speech. It also requires individuals to impose and enforce rules fairly and impartially so there is an equitable distribution of benefits and costs. This justice perspective protects the interests of the underrepresented and less powerful, besides it can encourage a sense of entitlement that reduces risk taking, innovations, and productivity (Robbins et al., 2007).

Besides establishing the right conditions, training is also important for the organization to practice ethical reflections (Brown, 2000). Training will enables decision makers at all levels to acquire appropriate skills and tools that are necessary for participation in the process. The right training can ensure that the decision makers understand the decision-making process as a process of choice and aware that it involves choosing one of several alternatives; therefore, they must consider a variety of options and develop arguments on issues that interest them. With a right training, the decision makers will able to handle opposing views, examine the merits of different position, become proficient in the argumentative strategy, better understand the issues and hence more confidence in making decision. As mentioned by Brown (2000, p. 204), “if its members become competent in argumentative analysis and ethical reflection, then organizational ethics will become a creative and innovative human activity in the organization.” From the writer’s view, ethical reflection must be part of the process in decision-making. Thus, the members will become competent in argumentative analysis, and ethical reflection then organizational ethics will become a creative and innovative human activity within the organization.


Brown, T. (2000). Working ethics: Strategies for decision making and organizational responsibility. Berkley, CA: Basic Resources.

Robbins, S. P. & DeCenzo, D. A. (2007). Supervision Today! (5th. ed.). New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, Prentice-Hall.