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Discussion questions

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What decision making style is most prevalent in your organization? What tools and techniques are commonly used to make decisions in your organization? Why is it important to alter decision making techniques based upon the situation? Provide an example of an organizational decision that would have benefited from using different tools and techniques. (250 words) I work for a training firm which takes up projects to train employees across all levels in the hierarchy of an organization. The management of my organization chooses the different decision making style depending on the situation. If the team members do not have the necessary skills and knowledge to give valuable inputs, the team manager adopts the ‘ Attila of Hum’ or authoritative decision making style. Then the responsibility of the decision lies with the manager. In case the manager feels that the team can provide valuable inputs, he chooses facilitative decision making style. The team, thus, feels empowered and the morale of the team members increases. In such a case it is well communicated to the team that the responsibility of the decision lies with the team. The commonly used tool in my organization is the problem-option checklist. A list of problems is prepared against which the option/ solutions are mentioned and the best possible solution is chosen. In case of authoritative decision making, the leader selects the best possible option and communicates the same to the team. Some of the trainers complained that they were not getting valuable feedback from their trainees in lower levels of the hierarchy. Hence analyzing them and showing the training impact was difficult. The manager chose the facilitative decision making style. The team sat together and discussed that the answers they were getting were ‘ good’, ‘ yes’, ‘ no’ etc. Thus the subjective feedback form should be replaced by and objective one for trainees from lower levels of hierarchy. An MIS person was hired for the designing and the analysis of the feedback sheets. The team sat together again with the MIS expert and decided on the parameters that need to be analyzed and the feedback system became smooth. In another case, it was to be decided whether the team leader should take up the Behaviour based safety training for the top management of a shipping company. It was to be decided whether the organization has the necessary skills. The decision was taken authoritatively by the leader. The required skills were mapped with the existing once. He took up the training after hiring an external consultant to bridge the skill-knowledge gap 2. What decision making model do you prefer? Why? How do the influences of internal and external stakeholders affect the decision-making model that best fits the situation? Provide an example of how stakeholder influence might dictate which decision-making model is best in a particular situation. (250 words) My personal choice is the rational/ logical decision making model. It evaluates the cost against the benefits of each decision. Once the problem/ opportunity is identified, the team gathers the required information related to the possible options, analyses the information to develop the alternatives, evaluates the alternatives and then selects the best alternative to make a decision. In this process of decision making, the team decides the cost related to each of the alternatives and the return that the organization will achieve after exercising those choices. Every stakeholder is keen to know “ what is in it for me?’ Hence each of the internal stakeholders tries to influence the decision in his favor. There might be a situation when the interest of the internal stakeholders is going to clash on choice of the available options. In such a situation, it is important to keep the ultimate stakeholder or the customer in mind. If the customer’s interest in not served by the decision, the organization is at a loss. In such a situation, rational decision making model is the best. When the decision does not impact any external customer, the social model of decision making is adopted. In another case where the team does not know the possible outcome of each of the alternatives, it is unable to choose an option. Hence heuristics model of decision making is adopted. It is suitable for cases where the alternatives do not cost much and hence and the required trial and error can be done. My organization got an offer to provide behaviour based safety training to a major player in shipping industry. On discussion with the customer, a five day training program was chalked out which included 4 days of behavioral training and one day of safety training related to the industry. The internal team had the required skills for the four days of behavioral training. A suitable external consultant was looked for to collaborate for the safety training part. When the search was over, the external consultant claimed that he would like to cover one day of behavioral training as well along with the safety training claiming that the training will remain incomplete without it and threatened to back-out. There was a clash among the interests of internal and the external stakeholders. Then the rational decision model was adopted and in the interest of the final customer, the external consultant was allowed to two days of training.

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