Decision-Making Methodologies Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Anthropology Type: Essay Paper: #81273721 Related Topics: Decision Theory, Decision Making, The Decision, Decision Making Process
Excerpt from Essay :


My taxonomy of decision-making approaches will be based, somewhat loosely, on brain dominance theory combined with what I have seen in my experience. The underlying principle is that people are either analytical or emotional in their decision making. These are the two basic types, but within these there are differences as well. For example, rational decision-making can be purely statistical -- using the numbers to guide the process, or it can be more qualitative-rational. On the emotional side, decision making can be "gut," which is fairly reactive, or it can be based on past performance, so more of a "what has worked before."

In the middle is a hybrid, which relies on a heavy amount of analysis, before the final decision is based more on feel. There might not be a much academic support for this one, but I do it myself all the time. The use of gut is really to break analysis paralysis, to which some analytical/rational decision-makers are prone. There is also a moderating influence on decision-making, which is the degree of consultation. Many decisions are made by an individual. Even in a situation that is nominally collective decision-making, there is usually somebody pushing and politicking for the ultimate decision -- someone has to take the lead on making that decision. But the degree to which decision-making is collective or individual is another critical dimension in the decision-making paradigm that cannot be ignored.

Thus my decision-making taxonomy would take the powerpoint's community participation...


I have seen that this is pretty much how decisions are made -- and that people do seem to have preferences for the decision-making methodologies that best suit their own tastes. It is worth noting that I feel the rational/emotional type is not cultural but individual, whereas collective/individual is definitely more cultural in nature. So my taxonomy looks at things through a lens of a matrix with cultural and individual on different axes. The objective is more to describe decision-making accurately than to create a pretty paradigm that can be easily understood, but I think that this is not all that complicated.

A taxonomy is not the same thing as a methodology. This is an important distinction for the second question, about which styles are appropriate in which situations. A taxonomy, by its nature, is descriptive, whereas a methodology is prescriptive. Which method people will use is going to depend on their cultural norms, and their personal preferences, as per the individual-collective matrix. The best type for a given decision will be informed by these things.

For example, an autocratic decision in a culture that emphasizes collective decision-making will a lower level of buy-in from those affected by the decision. There is a poor fit there. A person who is accustomed to making analytical decisions might perform poorly where the analytics provide no clear answer, whereas a person who is accustomed to emotional decision…

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