The success of any organization is determined by managers being able to plan, set goals, and make decisions. Decision making is the primary function of management and this task should not be taken lightly. Decisions are made to achieve goals and tie them to company actions and outcomes. According to Peter Drucker, “Whatever a manager does, he does through decision-making.” When making a decision, managers must take all alternatives into consideration and although one may not have all the answers, a manager must be able to move forward, sometimes immediately, in order to be successful and effective in their decision making process. According to Trewatha & Newport, “Decision-making involves the selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to arrive at a solution for a given problem.” This is a continuous process that requires managers to have specific knowledge, skills and intellectual abilities. Some managers find this task challenging as seen in the case of CMT Telecommunications.
In the case of CMT Telecommunications, Manager Dave has been selected to take charge temporarily while his boss is on vacation. His issue is that he has to make a decision to select and assign one of two key managers to take the lead of a new project which entails developing a new CD-ROM self-study course for new software. One manager has extensive experience on the technical side of the house and is in charge of the technical publications department. This manager is skilled in developing detailed manuals on how to use the company’s equipment and software.
The other manager oversees the software training department. He is especially skilled in designing training courses that effectively communicate the technical information from the publications department’s manuals. He is known for his excellent presentation skills and for the information being customer friendly and easy to follow. This decision is difficult for Dave because he is friends with both managers but also knows that his decision will reflect his managerial competencies which in the long run can affect his opportunities for advancement.
There are three models that decision making fall under: Classical, which is based on rational assumptions and managers beliefs; Administrative Model, which is based on human and environmental limitations and is known to be the most effective model; and the Political Model, which allows collaboration amongst and between managers to facilitate the decision making process when there is uncertainty (Daft, 2013). In this case, the political decision making model is evident in the uncertainty of his ability to make a quick decision. This can be due to his diverse interests in both of the manager’s abilities and past experiences. This is a non-programmed type of decision that Dave needs to make in that it is unique. This is a new project that no one has experienced in the company, let alone Dave as a new project manager having to take the lead and make a difficult decision. There are consequences will play an important role for him personally and professionally.
Another aspect of the political model is that Dave realizes he has to get both managers to talk to one another and form a coalition however he fears that this may not be possible given that both managers declared openly that the other department lacked the skills needed to ensure project success. Because both managers are highly skilled and each have a powerful team of employees that can assist with the details and tasks required to ensure the success of the project, they need to be able to work together and form an alliance. By using the political decision making model a manager would engage his team to collaborate and share their diverse ideas, interests and skills, while understanding there are conflicting goals and inconsistent viewpoints. The team would work together towards strategically developing specific goals and in this case, each group could take a certain area of the project to work on then bring them together in hopes to acquire a successful cohesive project outcome.
The work of Herbert A. Simon proposes that the two concepts: bounded rationality and satisficing are instruments that shape the administrative model of decision making. Satisficing is when managers choose the first alternative that satisfies the minimum criteria of the decision. Bounded rationality is the concept that managers have to be rational when making decisions based on the amount of time and ability to process all of the information needed to make the decision (Daft, 2013). In the case of David, he does have to make a quick decision mostly because the equipment that needs to be purchased for the project has to be placed immediately. Although Dave understands the differences in opinions from both managers, he has to consider his alternatives in a timely fashion for long-term benefits. He also does not come with much project management experience so his ability to make these types of decisions is limited.
As Dave, my plan of action would include the following:
* Follow the six steps in the Managerial Decision-Making Process * Discuss project plans with each manager, gather their ideas and perspectives * Brainstorm ideas and develop alternatives that meet both managers needs and that allows for collaboration but at the same time allow for some constructive debate * Use the analytical style of decision making first while considering all the alternatives however switch to the directive style when ready to make the decision * Use intuition and trust in my experience, background, and skills * Take a risk in making the best decision possible without being influenced by emotions or friendships built with the other managers, without thinking too much on past decisions and doubts of my decision making capabilities, have some self-efficacy, and think outside of the box to gather the best ideas and develop strategies to move the project planning phase forward.
Every problem can be solved differently depending on the manager, their personality, past experience, education, upbringings, but most importantly their intuition and the risk taking abilities they bring. When making decisions, managers must consider the type of decision that needs to be made, their own managerial style when it comes to making decisions, as well as how rational one can be depending on the decision that needs to be made. One should always consider all the alternatives presented to them as well as the time needed to make a decision. As a manager, one should not be afraid to take risks however should understand the levels of risk depending on the alternatives presented. Being true to what one believes is also important and should always play a part of a manager’s decision making process.
Kalyan City Life Blog. Decision Making Process in Management-Problem Solving. Retrieved from http://kalyan-city.blogspot.com/2010/06/decision-making-process-in-management.html
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