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Analysis Of A Decision Making Model

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Every day in life, we all make decisions. Some decisions may be minute in their level of importance, and some may be so critical as to influence the rest of your life. As we make these decisions, most of us do not take the time to look at all of the options available to us. In some cases, this can be dangerous. In my particular case, I needed to expand the reach of my business from the general-public, to include some of the local corporations and small businesses. To do this I needed to further my education to include areas such as networking, UNIX systems, LINUX, and a few programming basics. This left me with a major decision making process ahead of me. Where do I go to further my education in Information Technology? I could have done a Google search and chose the first thing that popped up, but this could have left me in an awkward position. What if the school is not accredited? Will the school transfer and apply my existing credits? What are the course options? What classes are offered that better suit my needs? These are all very important questions that needed answering. Therefore, I had to look over all of the options for obtaining my degree in IT. I had to weigh the available courses offered from each school to what I need to expand my business. The only way to do this was carefully lay out my options. Then model my decision to come up with the best solution towards my business and personal goals. Following is a carefully laid out plan to accomplish this task. I used a similar model in my decision making process, and without it, I would not be here right now.

Analysis of a Decision Making Model

Making a Decision

With any Business, there will be problems that arise or decisions to be made. Solving these usually involve a process known as modeling. Modeling breaks a decision down into a series of steps designed to make the decision making process both efficient and sound. The alternative, not thinking a decision through, could lead to costing you or your company anything from money to downtime at the least. Modeling allows you to step back and see the "Big Picture". You view a decision from all angles, most of them not being visible by jumping at the first available or most accessible solution.

I will try to show this procedure in a way so that anyone can grasp the concept of modeling, from the framing of a decision to the final implementing of the decision. Some models can be very complex flow charts, and some can be simple step designs. It mostly comes down to personal choice, and the complexity of the situation at hand. Personally, I think that using a simple step model can accomplish most people's task. For the purpose of this paper, I will use a simple 5-step, decision making model, highlighted in an ongoing study, by David Arnaud and Tim LeBon called "Toward Wise Decision Making - A Case Study" I will then break this model down to better understand and grasp each step.

As applicable, I will show how Critical Thinking comes into play during the process and how important it is to the decision making process as a whole. You will also note that the decision making model is not linear by nature, but can become a multi-pass process, depending on how your alternatives apply to your final solution.

The Basic Decision Making Model

(Arnaud & LeBon, 2001, Table -1) "The Five Stages of Decision Making"

Step - 1. Clarifying, or framing the decision

Step - 2. Identifying relevant values or alternatives and assessing them in order of relevancy.

Step - 3. Searching for options.

Step - 4. Choosing the best option.

Step - 5. Implementing, or carrying out the decision.

Step - 1

Clarifying the Decision

In this stage, you should make clear the objectives to be gained by your decision. Include in this process, any constraints or other factors that you should consider during this process. You recognize and define any objectives that your decision making process would achieve.

You will apply critical thinking to this stage by assessing what is expected from the situation, and evaluating each for truth toward the final decision.

Step - 2

Identifying What Matters

In this stage, you think of any alternatives relevant to your decision and assessing each of them for relevancy and their ethical value.

This stage is a simplifying stage. You will reduce the number of alternatives to be considered. The best method I found for accomplishing this task is from an internet article by Robert Harris called, "Decision Simplification Techniques". Here I will only list the highlights of his methodology.

(Harris, 1998)

1. Criteria Filter - Establish a fixed set of criteria that all alternatives must meet.

2. Best of Few - Limiting the number of alternatives to between three and six. This allows for better time constraint and less mental fatigue.

3. Cursory Exclusion - A potential alternative is rejected on the basis of a simple flaw. Look at alternatives with an eye toward rejecting them. This method would probably be used more by employment officers in eliminating job applicants.

4. Routinization - How have similar decisions been made in the past? This is otherwise



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