is a choice made between two or
more alternatives. It is choosing the
best alternative to reach the
predetermined objective. Thus
decision-making is a process of
identifying and selecting a course of
action to solve specific problem.
Another definition :
A systematic approach to defining
the problem and creating a vast number
of possible solutions without judging
• Types of Decisions :
1. Programmed decisions: repetitive and
• Decision’s rule identifies the situation and
specifies how the decision will be made.
2. Non-programmed decisions
• Decisions made in complex and non-
– Problem hasn’t arisen before.
– It is difficult to define problem’s nature and
– Problem is important and requires a unique
Step 1: Identify the decision to be made.
You realize that a decision must
be made. You then go through an
internal process of trying to define
clearly the nature of the decision
you must make. This first step is a
very important one.
Step 2: Gather relevant information.
Most decisions require collecting pertinent
information. The real trick in this step is to know
what information is needed, the best sources of
this information, and how to go about getting it.
Some information must be sought from within
yourself through a process of self-assessment;
other information must be sought from outside
yourself-from books, people, and a variety of other
sources. This step, therefore, involves both
internal and external “work”.
Through the process of collecting
information you will probably identify
several possible paths of action, or
alternatives. You may also use your
imagination and information to
construct new alternatives. In this
step of the decision-making process,
you will list all possible and desirable
Step 4: Weigh evidence.
In this step, you draw on your information and
emotions to imagine what it would be like if you
carried out each of the alternatives to the end.
You must evaluate whether the need identified in
Step 1 would be helped or solved through the
use of each alternative. In going through this
difficult internal process, you begin to favor
certain alternatives which appear to have higher
potential for reaching your goal. Eventually you
are able to place the alternatives in priority order,
based upon your own value system.
Step5:Choose among alternatives.
Once you have weighed all the
evidence, you are ready to select the
alternative which seems to be best
suited to you. You may even choose a
combination of alternatives. Your
choice in Step 5 may very likely be the
same or similar to the alternative you
placed at the top of your list at the end
of Step 4.
Step 6: Take action.
You now take some positive
action which begins to
implement the alternative you
chose in Step 5.
Step 7: Review decision and consequences.
In the last step you experience the results of
your decision and evaluate whether or not it has
“solved” the need you identified in Step 1. If it
has, you may stay with this decision for some
period of time. If the decision has not resolved
the identified need, you may repeat certain steps
of the process in order to make a new decision.
You may, for example, gather more detailed or
somewhat different information or discover
additional alternatives on which to base your
• Problem Solving
– The conscious process of closing the gap between
actual and desired situations.
– Problem solving is a Cognitive Processing directed at
achieving a goal where no solution method is obvious
to the problem solver.
Problem solving is the mental process you follow when you
have a goal but can’t immediately understand how to achieve it.
It’s a process that depends on you – how you perceive a
problem, what you know about it, and the end-state you want to
• Solving a problem involves a number of cognitive
1. ascertaining what the problem really is
2. identifying the true causes of your problem and the
opportunities for reaching your goal
3. generating creative solutions to the problem
4. evaluating and choosing the best solution, and
implementing the best solution, then monitoring your
actions and their results to ensure the problem is
Clearly, problem solving isn't a one-step process. Your
success will depend on whether you approach and
implement each of the stages effectively. The best way to
do this is to use a well-established, systematic problem-
The steps in the problem-solving model are as
1.Define the problem
– Defining the problem is a crucial step that involves
digging deeper to identify what it is that needs to be
solved. The more clearly a problem is defined, the easier
you’ll find it to complete subsequent steps. A symptom is
a phenomenon or circumstance that results from a
deeper, underlying condition. It’s common to mistake
symptoms for problems themselves – and so to waste a
lot of time and effort on tackling consequences of
problems instead of their causes. To define a problem,
you can use gap analysis, which involves comparing your
current state to the future state you want to be in, to
identify the gaps between them.
2.Analyze the problem
– You decide what type of problem it is – whether there’s a
clear barrier or circumstance you need to overcome, or
whether you need to determine how to reach a goal. You
then dig to the root causes of the problem, and detail the
nature of the gap between where you are and where you
want to be. The five-why analysis is a tool that’ll help you
get to the heart of the problem. Ask “Why?” a number of
times to dig through each layer of symptoms and so to
arrive at the problem’s root cause. You can get to the root of
a more complicated problem using a cause-and-effect
diagram. A cause is something that produces an effect,
result, or consequence – or what contributed to the current
state of affairs. Categories of causes include people, time,
and the environment.
3.Identify as many potential
solutions as you can
– Brainstorm creatively ask lots of
questions about the who, what,
where, when, and how of the causes
to point to various possibilities. Don’t
limit yourself by considering
practicalities at this stage; simply
record your ideas
4.Choose the best solution
– In evaluating your ideas, more
options could present themselves. You
could do this by rating each possible
solution you came up with in step 3
according to criteria such as how
effective it will be, how much time or
effort it will take, its cost, and how
likely it is to satisfy stakeholders
5.Plan of action
– During this step, you determine what steps must be
taken, designating tasks where necessary. And you decide
on deadlines for completing the actions and estimate the
costs of implementing them. You also create a contingency
plan in case of unforeseen circumstances so that if
anything goes wrong with your plan, you have a “plan B” in
place. Typically, this stage involves narrowing down the
possible ways to implement the solution you’ve chosen,
based on any constraints that apply. You also should draw
up an action plan. The complexity of the plan will depend
on the situation, but it should include the who, what, and
when of your proposed solution.
6.Implement the solution
– This is an ongoing process.
You need to ensure the required
resources remain available and
monitor progress in solving the
problem; otherwise, all the work
you’ve done might be for nothing
Remember that this model is
highly adaptable. Although you
shouldn’t skip any of the six
steps, you can tailor the
amount of time you spend on
each stage based on the
demands of your unique
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