According to Lind, Marchal, and Warhen (2011), the definition of statistics is that it is the science of data. It involves collecting, classifying, summarizing, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting numerical information (Chapter 1). There are different types and levels of statistics. For example Descriptive statistics utilizes numerical and graphical methods to look for patterns in a data set, to summarize the information revealed in a data set, and to present the information in a convenient form. The four elements of descriptive statistical problems are the population or sample of interest, One or more variables (characteristics of the populations or sample units) that are to be investigated, Tables, graphs, numerical summary tools, and the identification of patterns in the data
Also there are Inferential statistics that utilizes sample data to make estimates, decisions, predictions, or other generalizations about a larger set of data. There are 5 elements of inferential statistical problems: The population of interest, one or more variables (characteristics of the population units) that are to be investigated, the sample of population units, the inference about the population based on information contained in the sample, and a measure of reliability for the inference.
When it comes to the role of statistics in business decision making it is applied in many ways in terms of consumer preferences or even financial trends. For example, managers across any type of business unit formulate problems, they decide on a question relating to the problem and then form a statistical formulation of the question is used to determine answers to all of the above. An example of a business question may be how many calls are answered on average in a call center and how can we increase the numbers of calls answered per hour. Another example may be how we can increase the number of accounts we open each week, and who is opening the Most accounts and what is it that is aiding in the success of those individuals. Clearly there are many questions but determining the right questions that can be measured with statistical data is key to getting the right answers.
Lind, D. A., Marchal, W. G., & Warhen, S. A. (2011). Basic Statistics for Business & Economics (7th ed.). Retrieved from The Univeristy of Phoenix eBook Collection database.