Unit 5: Decision Making in Computer Lab Management

Introduction

Constantly managers of all kinds have to make a decision that has an impact on the units they are in charge of. Computer lab managers must take decisions too. Right decisions when taken will have a positive impact on the lab itself, the users and if there are, the other workers who assist in the seeing to the activities of the lab. Taking a decision is not an easy thing, therefore, this session introduces us to the art of decision making and the processes that must be undertaken, before the final point is reached.

What Decision-making is

Decision making is the process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions.

Decision-making may be described as the process of selecting a course of action from several alternatives so that desired result may be accomplished.

According to Koontz and O’Donnel, “Decision-making is the actual selection from among alternatives of a course of action.”

According to George R. Terry, “Decision-making is the selection based on some criteria from two or more possible alternatives.”

According to Louis A. Allen, “Decision-making is the work which a manager performs to arrive at conclusion and judgement.”

The purpose of decision-making is to direct human behavior and commitment towards a future goal. It involves committing the organization and its resources, to a particular choice of course of action, thought to be sufficient and capable of achieving some predetermined objective.

Decision-making is an important function of every manager. Under planning important things like, ‘what is to be done’, ‘how it is to be done’ when it is to be done and who is to do it are considered. In an answer to all these questions, a manager has various alternatives. When a manager chooses the best alternative out of many available ones, it is called a decision and the process that has been adopted in order to reach the final decision is known as decision-making.

A decision is essential in all the managerial functions like planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. All the managerial functions are performed through the medium of a decision. The managers are doubly benefitted when they face problems and try to find out their solutions.

Intuitive and Reasoned Processes

In the wider process of problem-solving, decision-making involves choosing between possible solutions to a problem. Decisions can be made through either an intuitive or reasoned process, or a combination of the two.

Intuition

Intuition is using your ‘gut feeling’ about possible courses of action. Although people talk about it as if it was a magical ‘sense’, intuition is actually a combination of past experience and your personal values. It is worth taking your intuition into account, because it reflects your learning about life. It is, however, not always based on reality, only your perceptions, many of which may have started in childhood and may not be very mature as a result.

It is therefore worth examining your gut feeling closely, especially if you have a very strong feeling against a particular course of action, to see if you can work out why, and whether the feeling is justified.

Reasoning

Reasoning is using the facts and figures in front of you to make decisions. Reasoning has its roots in the here-and-now, and in facts. It can, however, ignore emotional aspects to the decision, and in particular, issues from the past that may affect the way that the decision is implemented.

Intuition is a perfectly acceptable means of deciding, although it is generally more appropriate when the decision is of a simple nature or needs to be made quickly.

Importance of decision-making

1. Achievement of Goal/Objectives: Decision making is important to achieve the organizational goals/objectives within a given time and budget. It searches for the best alternative, utilizes the resources properly and satisfies the employees at the workplace. As a result, organizational goals or objectives can be achieved as per the desired results.

2. Employees Motivation: Decision making is important to motivate the employees within an organization. It provides an overall framework of operation and guidelines to the operating level of staff. It also provides different types of facilities and benefits on time. As a result, employees are motivated to their job or work as per the organizational requirement.

3. Proper Utilization of Resources: An organization has various resources like man, money, method, material, machine, and information. All these resources are properly utilized without any leakage and wastage with the help of the right decision at the right time. As a result, an organization can operate at a minimum cost.

4. Selecting the Best Alternative: As we know that the problem has multiple solutions. Decision making is important to select the best alternative among various alternatives by analyzing them one by one using various financial, statistical and other tools/techniques.

5. Evaluation of the Managerial Performance: Decision making is not only important to select the best alternative but also essential for evaluating the performance of a manager. The quality/success of the manager largely depends upon the number of right decisions that he/she can take for organizational success. Therefore, decision making is important to judge the performance of the management.

6. Indispensable Element/Component: Decision making is an indispensable element/component for organizational success because without taking the right decision at the right time, nothing can be performed as per the plan.

7. Pervasive Function: Decision-making is a pervasive function of managers aimed at achieving organizational goals. Decisions are to be taken in all managerial functions such as planning, organizing, motivating, directing and controlling and in all functional areas such as production, finance, personnel and research and development. It indicates that the decision making is spread over many areas of the organization.

Decision Making Process

For the rationality, reliability and enforceability of decisions, managers should follow a sequential set of steps. It is said that a decision is rational if appropriate means are chosen to reach desired ends. In this regard, various management authorities have recognized and described different steps in the process of decision-making. Ricky W. Griffin has suggested six steps in the process of decision making. Accordingly, the steps are:

1. Identification of Problem

The initial stage of the decision-making process is to identify the exact problem. The problem may occur due to the gap between thinking and do the process. The reason for problems may be internal or external. Decision-making should identify the correct problems before taking any decision. It is not an easy job or task. Therefore, he/she may use his own knowledge, skills, experience and collect information from internal and external sources. It is believed that the identification of the correct problem is almost half part of the decision-making process.

2. Analysis of Problem

After identification of the correct problem decision-making should analyze the problem systematically and scientifically in terms of cost, time, legality, organizational resources, and short-term as well as the long-term impact of the problem. While analyzing the problem he/she may use various tools or techniques.

3. Developing an Alternative Course of Action:

As we know that a problem has multiple solutions. Therefore, the decisionmaker should develop the various possible alternatives for a better decision. While developing the alternative course of action he/she may use their own knowledge, skills, experiences and technical support from the professional planner and experts as well

4. Evaluating Alternative Courses of Action

After developing various possible alternatives, the decision-maker should evaluate all alternatives one by one for a better decision. In this step, he/she should try to search for the answers to the following questions.

• Whether the alternative is feasible in terms of cost, time, legality and other organizational resources or not?

• Whether the alternative is satisfactory to solve the organizational problems or not?

• Whether the features of alternatives are matched with the objectives of the organization or not?

5. Selecting the Best Alternative

After analyzing the various alternatives, the decision-maker has to select the best alternative among the various alternative by considering the short-term as well as long-term impact. For this purpose, he/she may use his/her knowledge, skills and experiences. He/she may also concern with other stakeholders for a better decision.

6. Implementation of Decision

After selecting the best alternative, the manager or superior should convert the decision into action. For this purpose, he/she should communicate with their subordinates and manage the various additional resources for the implementation of the organizational decision.

7. Review of Decision

The last step of the decision-making process is to get responses or feedback from other stakeholders of the organization. If the response is positive then the decision-making process is successfully completed. If the response is negative then he/she must go through the first step to take a new decision.

Challenges Decision-makers face

Basically, the decision-maker faces three major problems:

i. Multiplicity of factors which bear upon the decision.

ii. Complexity of relationship existing between these factors.

iii. The likelihood of the situation being affected more by uncertain events that are predictable once.

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