Understanding Decision Making

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The article, “Humble Decision Making” by Amitai Etzioni (1989) discusses the notion that decision making has become a highly complex process largely due to the flood of information we are exposed to and the seemingly impossible task of extracting any form of usable data from which a reasonable decision can be made. The article presents various models that have been accepted as usable methods for decision making in this complex environment and proceeds to proclaim the superiority of humble decision making; otherwise known as adaptive decision making or mixed scanning. The model is largely based upon the understanding and acceptance of human limitations in the decision making process where frequently there is only partial information and limited time to process or analyze the information. The article states five primary points. The first of which being that even though a rationalistic approach to decision making has been proven to be effective in certain situations, it has major limitations. Rationalism holds that decision makers should and could explore every possible path that could produce their desired outcomes, gather all the data regarding cost and utility of each path systematically compare all alternatives and then rationally decide upon the best course. The problem with this approach, as argued by psychologists, is that, at best, the human mind can only focus on eight facts at a time. The human ability to spontaneously calculate probabilities, especially when there are two or more probabilities involved, is low and it has been shown that we learn much slower than necessary to handle the complexities required for important decisions. This is proven by the fact that we make the same mistakes over and over and we make adjustm... ... middle of paper ... ...th my personal belief structure, I cannot implement that particular solution. Doing so would create a position of imbalance and hypocrisy within my life which would have an effect on every other aspect of my life, both personal and professional. My Christian beliefs are the not a negotiable aspect of my personality that can be turned on or off depending upon the circumstances. They are who I am and my way of life; personal and professional. References Chyssides G D, Kaler JH, (1998), An Introduction to Business Ethics, London, Thompson Business Press. Etzioni, A (1998, July-August), Humble Decision Making, Harvard Business Review, P122. Mintzberg H, Quinn J, Goshal S (2003) The Strategy Process (Revised European Edition), London, Prentice Hall Thompson J L, (2007), Strategic Management; Awareness and Change, London, Thompson Business Press.

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