Behavioral Aspects of Decision Making

Behavioral aspects are very important in every decision making process. The inter-and multidisciplinary decision-making theories distinguish two main typologies of research directions: The first one consists of two lines: the normative and descriptive (behavioral). Under the direction of the normative approach attention is taken to what and how to decide, with an emphasis on decision-making methods and areas of application of these methods. It seeks also to determine the optimal solution for the ideal decision-maker, which completely uses the available information, determines the benefits of perfect accuracy and operates in a fully rational manner.

It is important for every manager to understand the behavioral aspects of decision-making. These are as follows:

(i) Rationality

Decision-making is a mental process. The Human brain has the ability to learn, grasp, think, analyze, synthesize, evaluate and relate complex facts and variables which leads to rationality in decision-making.

(ii) Commitment

Sometimes people continue to try to implement a decision despite clear and convincing evidence that plenty of problems exist. This tendency to persist in an ineffective course of action when evidence reveals that the plan/activity/decision cannot succeed is known as escalation of commitment.

According to Staw (1981), there are several reasons for escalation of commitment. Sometimes, the decision-makers ego is so involved with the decision that his identity is totally wrapped up in it. Failure or cancellation seems to threaten his reasons for existence.

Hence, he continues to push the decision despite strong evidence contrary to it. Some ‘decisions are such that their benefits will be visible only at the end and hence the decision-maker must stay on the decision.

Sometimes, group norms, social structure and pressure and group cohesiveness is too strong and provides tremendous support so that cancelling the decision is impossible. Organizational inertia may also lead to continuation of the decision.

(iii) Ethics

Ethics are an individual’s beliefs about what constitutes good and bad or right and wrong behavior. Ethical behavior is that which conforms to generally accept social norms.

Some managerial decisions such as selecting or removing a teacher, dealing with students and parents, dealing with corruption concerning examination and students’ marks, assigning tasks to teachers and maintaining financial accounts properly involve ethical issues.

Thus, most of the ethical dilemmas centre on a manager’s direct and indirect personal goals and preferences. Thus, while taking a decision, attention must be paid to ethical considerations carefully and deliberately.

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