The Practice of Management

By Peter F. Drucker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 28
MAKING DECISIONS

"Tactical" and "strategic" decision--The fallacy of "problemsolving"--The two most important tasks: finding the right questions, and making the solution effective--Defining the problem-- What is the "critical factor"?--What are the objectives?--What are the rules?--Analyzing the problem--Clarifying the problem-- Finding the facts--Defining the unknown--Developing alternative solutions--Doing nothing as an alternative--Finding the best solution--People as a factor in the decision--Making the decision effective--"Selling" the decision--The two elements of effectiveness: understanding and acceptance--Participation in decisionmaking--The new tools of decision-making--What is "Operations Research"?--Its dangers and limitations--Its contribution--Training the imagination--Decision-making and the manager of tomorrow.

WHATEVER a manager does he does through making decisions. Those decisions may be made as a matter of routine. Indeed, he may not even realize that he is making them. Or they may affect the future existence of the enterprise and require years of systematic analysis. But management is always a decision-making process.

The importance of decision-making in management is generally recognized. But a good deal of the discussion tends to center on problem-solving, that is, on giving answers. And that is the wrong focus. Indeed, the most common source of mistakes in management decisions is the emphasis on finding the right answer rather than the right question.

The only kind of decision that really centers in problem-solving is the unimportant, the routine, the tactical decision. If both the

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