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Decision Making Methodology: steps involved, types of decisions, brief analysis

Choose a decision Making Methodology.

Provide a brief explanation of the steps involved, the types of decisions that could be made using it, and a brief analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Please list references

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Decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. Every decision-making process produces a final choice. It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but we do not know what. Therefore decision-making is a reasoning process which can be rational or irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.

Common examples include shopping, deciding what to eat, and deciding whom or what to vote for in an election or referendum.

Decision making is said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never "see" a decision, we can infer from observable behavior that a decision has been made. Therefore we conclude that a psychological event that we call "decision making" has occurred. It is a construction that imputes commitment to action. That is, based on observable actions, we assume that people have made a commitment to effect the action.

Structured rational decision making is an important part of all science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to making informed decisions. For example, medical decision making often involves making a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment.

Due to the large number of considerations involved in many decisions, decision support systems have been developed to assist decision makers in considering the implications of various courses of action. They can help reduce the risk of human errors. The systems which try to realize some human/cognitive decision making functions are called Intelligent Decision Support Systems

It is generally agreed that biases can creep into our decision making processes, calling into question the correctness of a decision. Below is a list of some of the more common cognitive biases.

Selective search for evidence - We tend to be willing to gather facts that support certain conclusions but disregard other facts that support different conclusions.
Premature termination of search for evidence - We tend to accept the first alternative that looks like it might work.
Conservatism and inertia - Unwillingness to change thought patterns that we have used in the past in the face of new circumstances. (See tradition.)
Experiential limitations - Unwillingness or inability to look beyond the scope of our past experiences; rejection of the unfamiliar.
Selective perception - We actively screen-out information that we do not think is salient. (See prejudice.)
Wishful thinking or optimism - We tend to want to see things in a positive light and this can distort our perception and thinking.
Recency - We tend to place more attention on more recent information and either ignore or forget more distant information. (See semantic priming.)
Repetition bias - A willingness to believe what we have been told most often and by the greatest number of different of sources.
Anchoring and adjustment - Decisions are unduly influenced by initial information that shapes our view of subsequent information.
Group think - Peer pressure to conform to the opinions held by the group.
Source credibility bias - We reject something if we have a bias against the person, organization, or group to which the person belongs: We are inclined to accept a statement by someone we like. (See prejudice.)
Incremental decision making and escalating commitment - We look at a decision as a small step in a process and this tends to perpetuate a series of similar decisions. This can be contrasted with zero-based decision making. (See slippery slope.)
Inconsistency - The unwillingness to apply the same decision criteria in similar situations.
Attribution asymmetry - We tend to attribute our success to our abilities and talents, but we attribute our failures to bad luck and external factors. We attribute other's success to good luck, and their failures to their mistakes.
Role fulfillment - We conform to the decision making expectations that others have of someone in our position.
Underestimating uncertainty and the illusion of control - We tend to underestimate future uncertainty because we tend to believe we have more control over events than we really do. We believe we have control to minimize potential problems in our decisions.
Faulty generalizations - In order to simplify an extremely complex world, we tend to group things and people. These simplifying generalizations can bias decision making processes.
Ascription of causality - We tend to ascribe causation even when the evidence only suggests correlation. Just because birds fly to the equatorial regions when the trees lose their leaves, does not mean that the birds migrate because the trees lose their leaves.

Concensus Decision Making Method:
Consensus decision-making is a decision process that not only seeks the agreement of ...

Solution Summary

The 3000 word solution is a very comprehensive discussion of discision making. Several methods are outlined and discussed including, for example, consensus decision making.

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