Decision-Making: concept, process and techniques

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Decision making is an essential part of planning. Decision making and problem solving are used in all management functions, although usually they are considered a part of the planning phase. A discussion of the origins of management science leads into one on modeling, the five-step process of management science, and the process of engineering problem solving.

Decision-making is an integral part of modern management. Essentially, Rational or sound decision making is taken as primary function of management. Every manager takes hundreds and hundreds of decisions subconsciously or consciously making it as the key component in the role of a manager. Decisions play important roles as they determine both organizational and managerial activities. A decision can be defined as a course of action purposely chosen from a set of alternatives to achieve organizational or managerial objectives or goals. Decision making process is continuous and indispensable component of managing any organization or business activities. Decisions are made to sustain the activities of all business activities and organizational functioning.

Relation to Planning


Managerial decision making is the process of making a conscious choice between two or more rational alternatives in order to select the one that will produce the most desirable consequences (benefits) relative to unwanted consequences (costs). If there is only one alternative, there is nothing to decide.

If planning is truly “deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who is to do it” , then decision making is an essential part of planning. Decision making is also required in designing and staffing an organization, developing methods of motivating subordinates, and identifying corrective actions in the control process. However, it is conventionally studied as part of the planning function, and it is discussed here.

Occasions for Decision


the occasions for decision originate in three distinct fields:

(a) from authoritative communications from superiors;

(b) from cases referred for decision by subordinates; and

(c) from cases originating in the initiative of the executive concerned.

Types of Decisions






Programmed decisions are routine and repetitive, and the organization typically develops specific ways to handle them. A programmed decision might involve determining how products will be arranged on the shelves of a supermarket. For this kind of routine, repetitive problem, standard arrangement decisions are typically made according to established management guidelines.




Non programmed decisions are typically one shot decisions that are usually less structured than programmed decision.


Decision Making under Certainty

Decision making under certainty implies that we are certain of the future state of nature (or we assume that we are). (In our model, this means that the probability p of future N is 1.0, and all other futures have zero probability.) The solution, naturally, is to choose the alternative A that gives us the most favorable outcome O . Although this may seem like a trivial exercise, there are many problems that are so complex that sophisticated mathematical techniques are needed to find the best solution.

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