In the field of psychology, decision-making is regarded as the process that leads to the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Decision-making is also the process of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision-maker. Every decision-making process can produce a final choice, but does not always prompt action.
There are many factors that affect or influence our decision-making process and ultimately the decisions we make. Some of these factors may affect individuals to varying degrees or different circumstances.
Let’s examine ten (10) common factors:
- Hope – We must be careful to realize that hoping for something to happen, over which we have no control, is useless.
- Procrastination – Waiting for a solution to magically appear, will generally lead to undesired results or consequences. Failing to address a problem could allow the situation to get out of control and put our job, position or business at risk. If this becomes habit-forming, we may soon find ourselves in a high pressure situation.
- Snap decisions – It is necessary to allocate proper research and reflection to the solution of business, personal or professional problems. It is said that, sober reflection for one hour will save two hours in corrections.
- Validation – If we look for only confirming-evidence we are likely to find it to the exclusion of valid evidence that could contribute to a more valid conclusion or decision.
- Over-confidence – This leads to being unaware of potentially hidden or disguised problems or issues that are not evaluated during the decision process.
- Passing the buck – This shifts the responsibility of making a decision and having someone to blame if things go wrong.
- Problem definition – Failure to correctly define the problem will lead to a wrong decision or solution. If the real problem is identified, we improve the probability of making the correct decision or recommending the appropriate solution.
- Rationalization – If we rationalize the cause of an event rather than completely examine it, we will limit the courses of actions that may be available. This happens frequently and is likened to” stacking the cards to make one alternative clearly right and remove all risk.”
- Invalid information – Information that is invalid or irrelevant leads to bad decisions.
- Anxiety – After a decision is made, it is not uncommon for the decision-maker to experience some anxiety. This occurs more often when the most desirable alternatives is rejected. Most people want to be proud and positive about their decisions. But having agreed on a lesser alternative deprives the decision-maker of the positive aspect of the decision.
Finally, decision-making often involves several steps. The process begins with the formation of goals and proceeds to the identification of problems and alternative courses of action. However, decision-making is a team leader and management function that is important at all levels of management in all professional, personal and business endeavors.
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