Decision making is an unavoidable part of business. Smaller decisions where there is a lower perceived cost associated with making the wrong decision are psychologically easer compared to important decisions where a wrong choice could incur high costs. A recent example of a decision involved selecting an employee for an internal promotion. The position of team leader had become available for one of following the resignation of the incumbent team leader. The position was important for the team, and the department, as the team leader is key in managing the team from a practical perspective and ensuring that targets for the team would be met, as well as playing an important motivational role. The performance of the department was reliant on performance of each team, so the appointment was also important for the department I managed. The decision was important from the perspective of the business, but it was also important for other employees', as there were performance related bonuses, which included consideration of the department's performance.
Making the Decision
When making any decision I will try to use a rational decision making approach in order to optimize the potential of making a good decision. It was determined by senior management that the promotion should be undertaken internally, as long as there was a suitable candidate. This was an established practice within the business, and has been highly successful in the past. The first stage is the decision-making process was to identify potential candidates for the promotion. I know that simply because somebody is capable of doing a job, does not necessarily mean that they would want to do it, and if an individual does not want to do a job, it is unlikely they would perform well. Therefore, even though I had a good idea of which employees may be the best candidates, I opened up the process to allow those who were interested to apply for the job. I asked those who were interested to send me an email with a brief statement, telling me why they believed they would be right for the job. I ensured that all employees had the email and had time to reply.
When I received the replies I correlated a list of the candidates in order to assess. I then had to decide how to assess the candidates. It was important that whoever took on the role of team leader understood the job that their subordinates would be doing, and was already good at their job. I decided their existing knowledge and performance as a team member was important, as they would have to undertake on-the-job training and motivate their team members, and I believed they would be a better team manager if they understood the job. I also believe that there would be more likely to get respect and cooperation of their team members if it was a ready known that they were good at the team members' job. I reviewed their performance figures from the existing employee records, and also used my knowledge of their performance to assess the best candidates.
This process reduced the list to 2 potential candidates. As the team leaders were involved in motivation, I also decided that their people skills, including communication would also be important. Both of the candidates had been with the company a long period of time, both were well liked and respected and by their peers and the existing team leaders. I also drew on my personal knowledge of the individuals gained from observations; both potential candidates have displayed commitment to the company, willing to work late when necessary, as well as demonstrating that they were team players with a willingness to help their team mates.
Therefore, I had two candidates which were equally matched, I strongly believe that even these candidates would be able to undertake the task they team leader in an effective manner, with only minimal training. This equivalence of the candidates made the decision very hard. While both candidates had been with the company for a long time, one for five years, one for six years, as both candidates were equal, I gave the job to be candidate which had been with the organization for longer.
Application decision-making steps
The rational decision-making model is relatively simple, consists of four stages. These are the identification of the problem, the generation of alternative solutions, the evaluation and selection of resolution, and then the implementation of that solution along with evaluation (Tschappeler & Krogerus, 2011). The problem is faced with the identification of a suitable candidate to promote to team leader. Senior management had determined that promotion should be made internally, the fit in with the existing company policies and culture. However, I was simply told to select the best candidate for the job, rather than giving any explicit guidance on the way the decision should be made. Therefore, the problem was to choose the right person for the job.
To generate alterative solutions the first stage was to find out which employees wanted the job. I believed that asking the employees to apply for the job would be seen as a fairer process than simply choosing who I thought would be suitable. This would also make sure that I did not overlook someone who would have been a good team leader. This requirement for the applicants to apply also meant that I would only be considering the viable alternatives; I did not want to offer the job to someone who did not want it and would decline the promotion.
The list of candidates that had applied for the job was the list of alterative solutions; however, I was also aware that if there were not suitable candidates then external recruitment may have been an option. This was a back up, as the rules I had been given priorities internal candidates.
The next stage is the evaluation and selection of the best solution. The evaluation if each candidate was the most difficult stage. For this I used the records of performance, including statistical performance, over the last few months, as I wanted to make sure that the team leader would know the team members job and be able to support and train those that they would manage. Two candidates had excellent performance records, not only meeting all of their targets over the previous six months, also having excellent performance appraisal results. As it was important that the team leaders would get on with their teams and could motivate them, communication and social skills were also a consideration, but again they were equal.
This led to a smaller problem, which was how to different and make the decision, which I saw as a problem and through an assessment of additional criteria that I may select (which was a generation of potential solutions,) I chose length of service as the best solution, as it seemed the a far way of deciding. This led to the selection from the shortlisted candidates, choosing the one that had the longest service. The job was offered to the candidate, and I made sure they accepted the job before informing other they were unsuccessful.
Critique of the Approach
The approach was logical and I have little doubt I choose a good candidate, and the process had some strengths, but there were also weaknesses. I believe that allowing the employees to apply for the was a strength, as this created efficiency in the process, so I was not considering employees who did not want the position, but it also helped to ensure that no candidates who won the job would be over looked. Furthermore, this process could be seen as fair by all of the employees, and also supported the internal promotion strategy, as it demonstrated the commitment of myself, and the employers, to promoting from within. I also believe that using job performance statistics from the past six months facilitated an objective assessment of the potential candidates. The candidates needed to be good at the team members' job, and the employer automatically saved the performance statistics, as they were used for the performance appraisal system, and in connection with the bonus system. The ability to use objective measures also meant that the process used could be justified in case of any accusations of unfairness or bias.
Despite the strengths, there were also some weaknesses. Using only the existing records, backed up by my own observations, there was the potential for a suitable candidate to be overlooked. For example, it is possible that an individual who would be good team member, and has already undertaken many associated tasks, including helping other team members, may have undertaken these tasks at the cost of their own performance. The two shortlisted candidates both had 100% record at their meeting targets, but in hindsight there may have been candidates which met their targets majority the time, but demonstrated a team leader characteristics in the way that they had helped others, possibly to their own cost.…