Problem Solving and Decision Making in Management

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Problem solving and decision-making are fundamental in all managerial activities. Although these defining characteristics of management can be used interchangeably, current literature makes a comprehensible delineation between the two. Problem solving can be defined as a mental process and is part of a larger process that begins with identifying the problem and ends by assessing the efficiency of the solution. Decision-making is also considered a mental process and identifies several alternative scenarios before making a final selection. For the purpose of this analysis, I will discuss the similarities and differences of problem solving and decision-making. I will also explain the steps of the decision-making process and discuss the different decision-making approaches. The problem solving and decision-making processes are commonly used in management throughout all business models. Both processes share a similar uniqueness by combining an analysis and perception along with systems and outcomes. Much like the steps of the decision-making process, problem solving also follows a similar sequence of steps. Despite the fact that problem solving and decision-making are somewhat related, they are completely different. The main difference between the two is that problem solving is considered to be a method whereas decision making is more of a process. Management uses problem solving to reach a resolution with hope of achieving a positive outcome. Decision-making is frequently used during problem solving to help reach a resolution. Decision-making generates criteria for problem solving and develops alternative solutions. It also evaluates possible solutions and chooses from among the solutions (Huitt, 1992). Since problem ... ... middle of paper ... ...s go about making judgments and choices. Both theories play an intrinsic role with behavioral decision making and have proven to be successful approaches for management (Shanteau, 2001). Management will continue to encounter new challenges that require problem solving and decision-making strategies. Some problems may be easily resolved while others could take much longer depending on the complexity of the problem. In order for management to make effective decisions and achieve success for their businesses, the decision makers need to have adequate knowledge of the situation, critical thinking and excellent communication skills, and a sophisticated approach for tackling problems. Every business should have a systematic approach for solving problems and making decisions. Without one, decision making would be insufficient and businesses would be unproductive.

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