Problem Identification


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There is always a problem in an organization that must be resolved. There are many different types of decision making processes that an organization can use to help resolve these problems. This paper will examine some of the different types of decision making processes with examples from four organizations. This includes the decision making processes strengths and weaknesses, as well as comparing and contrasting them with each other. This paper will also describe how a problem can best be identified and described to stakeholders in a manner that is sensitive to their perspectives.
All of the different organizations and their decision making processes vary tremendously. The Stanford Hospital payroll and the store manager in a retail store seem to approach things in a similar manner because everything has to be outlined, analyzed, worked on, re-worked, and finalized before it can be completed. The YMCA decision making process is also similar in that the problem can easily be identified and then a course of action can be determined. By examining all the aspects and taking into account what is needed, why the decision has to be a certain way, or what is expected from the results, all three of these organizations can make decisions which will be successful and also easily changeable if the need arises. The Navy’s decision making process seems more involved than the others because it is a constant series of questioning, answering, and questioning the situation again until a final cause and result can be determined. Instead of being very structured in the planning such as with the other organizations, decision making has to be worked out in a more complicated manner. This is good because there is a high chance of success after the decision is made and alterations may not be required as is the case in some of the other decision making processes. Overall it depends on the situation and what exactly the organization has as far as expectations, time constraints, and resources as to how they can analyze and deal with a situation.
Each problem formulation and identification style has its own strengths and weaknesses. The benefit of the why-why diagram and the root cause analysis is that it uses all of the strengths of the team to arrive at a favorable solution. “Every answer turns into another question, and the exercise continues until the team cannot reasonably ask why anymore” (Nelson, 2003).

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Because the analysis is such a concentrated effort, the resolution is usually the most effective. Though this process could be time consuming, if done with only a few people, it works well when done with several knowledgeable people because reworking the issue is usually not needed. The drawback to the root cause analysis method is that when resources are limited, the root cause analysis does not solve the issue of finding creative ways to solve the problem. It only helps determine what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.
Adaptive planning has much strength. It allows for fluidity in an organization and leaves room for both creativity and growth. It is a great tool for a new company with a large amount of highly trained and qualified individuals or a well established organization that has a large reference library from which solutions can be quickly accessed. Because adaptive planning requires quick thinking to both identify and solve a problem, it is prone to errors and must rely heavily upon prior experiences to be continuously effective.
Cause and effect is a process that peers into all available options to find which best suits the needs of the company. The benefit of this type of evaluation is one of its major strengths. Because this process takes into consideration the constraints of budgets and staff, it adds another level to the basic decision making model making it a reliable source of problem formulation and identification. The weakness of the cause and effect process is that it is often a lengthy one and must be reviewed and approved by many departments before implementation can take place.

The basic nine step decision making model, given enough time, is possibly the strongest tool for problem formulation and identification. Workers in an organization are not only able to identify and solve a problem using this style but can also formulate alternate solutions. This style is extremely thorough and does much to inspire confidence in the implementation process. The one drawback is that it is a lengthy process. Though the steps can be abbreviated, the adhesiveness of the process breaks down as steps are deleted; thereby, making the process less reliable.
Since stakeholders are an important part to any business, keeping them informed is critical. When a problem comes is discovered, relevant information must be addressed to the appropriate stakeholder in a brief yet concise manner. Something is relevant when it is directly connected with and bears upon the issue at hand (Richard & Elder, 2006). In most organizations, problems that need to be addressed are to go through the proper chain of command. When going through the proper chain of commands, the issues are stated briefly and concisely, prioritized based on the level of impact, researched, documented and discussed in depth, and then reported concisely to the next command. Depending on the situation and organization, the higher one goes in the chain of command; the level of in depth details needed to move forward diminishes.
In conclusion, the why-why diagram, adaptive planning, cause and effect, and the basic nine step decision making model are some of the decision making processes that an organization can use. Choosing the right processes depends on the situation. Some processes may work better in one situation but not in another. Also, stakeholders play an important role when deciding on a solution so being sensitive to their perspectives is important.


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