Life is full of decisions. Each day, people are faced with different problems requiring answers and solutions. At early stages in life, decisions about which school to attend and what career to pursue must be answered. At later stages in life, when employment is sought, individuals must decide what organization is the best vehicle for career advancement.
Among the primary factors that distinguish managers from other employees are the level and types of decisions that they must make. Managers must be concerned with how a decision might affect their employees and the organization. An operating employee, in contrast, is primarily concerned with how a decision affects him or her individually.
The quality of the decisions that managers make is the yardstick of their effectiveness. In fact, a manager’s skill in making decisions is often a key factor in the kind of evaluation and rewards (promotion, money, assignments, etc.) that he or she receives. Moreover, a manager’s decision-making ability will ultimately contribute to the success or failure of the organization.
The focus of this chapter is on decision making. This chapter describes and analyzes decision making in terms that reflect the ways in which managers and others make decisions based on their understanding of individual, group, and organizational goals and objectives. After first defining decision making, the chapter discusses types and levels of decision making in organizations, the decision-making process, a comparison of individual and group decision making, and pitfalls that managers should avoid in making decisions.