Friday, June 5, 2009

P.A Decision making

Decision Making
It is a process of selection and the aim is to select the best alternatives. This process consists of four interrelated phases: explorative (searching for decision occasions), speculative (identifying the factors affecting the decision problem), evaluative (analyzing and weighing alternative courses of action), and selective (choice of the best course of action). In “The functions of the Executive”, Chester Barnard gave a comprehensive analytical treatment of decision making and noted, “The processes of decision are largely techniques of narrowing choices”. Following features of decision making can be identified:
It is a goal-oriented process.
A decision problem arises only when there are two or more alternatives.
It is a dynamic process. The techniques used for choice vary with the type of problem involved and the time availability for its solution.
It is situational. Decisions may change according to the circumstances.
It is a continuous process. Indeed, administrators job is perpetually a decision making exercise.
Decisions are the products of deliberations, reasoning and evaluation and sometimes depend on intuitions and instincts.

Types of Decisions
Organisational and Personal decisions
Individual and Group Decisions
Routine and Strategic decisions: Routine decisions are made repetitively following certain established rules, procedures and policies. On the other hand, Strategic decisions relate to policy matters and so require through fact finding and analysis of the possible alternatives.
Programmed and non-programmed decisions: see Herbert Simon and decision making process.
Policy and Operative decisions: Operative decisions are the ones taken by the lower management in order to put into action the policy decisions.
“Generic” and “Unique” decisions: These classifications have been given by Peter Drucker in his book “The practice of Management” and are similar to Herbert Simon’s programmed and non-programmed types.

Decision making process
According to Terry, administrative decision making involves the following steps:
To determine what the problem is.
Acquiring of general background information and different viewpoints about the problem.
To state to his immediate subordinate what appears to be the best course of action and to seek their opinion.
Investigating the proposition and taking the tentative decision.
To evaluate the tentative decision.
To make the decision and put it into effect; and
To institute a follow up and if need be, to modify the decision in the light of the results obtained in the follow up scrutiny.

Herbert Simon and the Decision Making Process
Herbert Simon is an American political and social scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1978 in recognition to his outstanding contribution in analyzing the decision making process. His outstanding publications are: Administrative Behaviour (1947), Organisation (1958) and The new Science of Management Decision (1960). He is associated with the social systems school and visualizes organisational problem in its total and psychological context.
Simon equates ‘administration’ with decision making. His central interest lies in the decision making process which, to him, is the core of all administrative activity. According to Simon, any rational decision may be viewed as a conclusion reached from certain premises. These premises are of two different kinds- values and facts. The latter can always be evaluated as ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ in an objective and empirical sense, whereas this can not be applied to value premises. Simon maintains that to be scientific one must exclude value judgments and concentrate attention on facts, adopt precise definition of terms, apply rigorous analysis and test factual statements or postulates about administration. An administrative science like any science is concerned purely with factual statements. There is no place for ethical or value statements in the study of science.
According to Simon, there are three sequential steps in the overall process of making a decision. These are:
The Intelligence Activity: It means finding occasions calling for a decision.
The Design Activity: It means inventing, developing and analyzing possible courses of action.
The Choice Activity: It refers to selecting a particular course of action from those available.
The follow up (Implementation): He subsequently added this fourth activity or step in collaboration with James G. March.
Simon has distinguished between programmed and non-programmed decisions. He says decisions are programmed to the extent that they are repetitive and routine or a definite procedure has been worked out to deal with them. Decisions are non-programmed to the extent that they are new, unstructured or where there is no cut or dried method for handling a problem.
Administrative Behavior
Simon’s Bounded Rationality Model:
Simon disputes the concept of total rationality in administrative behaviour and holds that decisions have bounded rationality. He rejects the theory of total rationality. According to him, rationality is limited because of the following factors:
Dynamic nature of organisational objectives.
Imperfect information as well as limited capacity to process the available information.
Time and cost constraints.
Environmental forces or external factors.
Personal factors like preconceived notions, habits, etc.
Organisation factors like procedures, rules, channel of communication, and so on.
On account of the various organisational and personal factors, an administrator can not choose a best alternative, but has to be content with “satisfactory”, “good-enough” alternatives. He used the term “satisficing” which involves the choice of a course of action which is satisfactory or at least good enough. He suggests the utilization of computers to increase rationality.

Lindblom’s Incremental model:
In his article “The Science of Muddling Through” (1959), Lindblom advocated the Incremental model of decision-making. He observes that the actual decision making in administration is different from the way it is generally described in theory. Indeed, the decision makers always continue the existing programmes and policies with some modifications: what actually occurs in administrative decisions is ‘incrementalism’, that is, virtual continuation of the previous activities with few changes. Thus, Lindblom argues that the past activities and experiences are used by the administrators to make future decisions. He highlighted two concepts to describe the actual decision-making process in administration- ‘marginal incrementalism’ and ‘partisan mutual adjustment’.

Etzioni’s Mixed Scanning Model:
Etzioni in his famous article “Mixed Scanning: A Third Approach to Decision Making” (1967) has advocated an intermediate model that combines the elements of both rational model and incremental model. Hence, it is called a mixed scanning model.

Yehezkel Dror’s Optimal Model:
Dror in his book “Public Policy-making Re-examined” advocated public policy-model of decision-making.

Administrative problems involved in decision-making:
Incomplete information
Un-supporting environment
Non-acceptance by subordinates
Ineffective communication
Incorrect timing

1 comment:

  1. its really will be helpful for GS and pub admn.........