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Purpose of management decision making

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

For this assessment criteria, you will analyse the purpose of making management decisions both independently and collaboratively as well as situations where you have to make decisions on behalf of others.

Independent vs collaborative decisions

As a manager, sometimes you will make decisions on your own and sometimes you will want to involve others in the decision-making process. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

The primary advantage of independent decision-making is that a decision can be made swiftly and cost-effectively. When others are involved in making decisions, there will be a delay because everybody will need to get together to discuss the issue and it will take time to reach an agreement or compromise. There will also be additional costs as group members will have to take time away from their usual duties to collaborate. When decisions are made independently, the decision-maker will be accountable for the outcomes of their decision, however accountability is less clear in group decisions.

The main advantage of collaborative decision-making is that there is the potential to acquire more complete information and there is a larger pool of knowledge and experience to inform the decision-making process. Decisions will take into account the viewpoints of many stakeholders and there is less likelihood of bias. In addition, when others are involved in the decision-making process, they are more likely to feel that they are valued and their opinions are respected. By being involved, they are more likely to agree with the decision and even take ownership of it, which can make implementation quicker and easier.

Negotiable vs non-negotiable

To be able to make effective decisions, it is important to identify from the outset the areas that are negotiable and non-negotiable. Non-negotiable areas are strict rules or values that you are not prepared to change, whilst negotiable areas are those where you will have some flexibility.

For example, your legal obligations are non-negotiable, as are your ethical values – you would not risk the safety of your employees to cut costs. Similarly, if you were making a decision about which software to purchase for staff to record their visits to clients, a non-negotiable might be that it must come with both an Android and iPhone app that staff can install on their phones.

By setting out what is negotiable and non-negotiable, you create boundaries and limitations for the decision-making process, which can narrow down potential solutions.

Managers making decisions on behalf of others

As a manager, there will be times when you have to make decisions on behalf of others.

When doing so, it is important to consider the impact that this will have and to ensure that a sound decision-making process is used. All alternatives should be carefully appraised and the best option selected. By doing so, you will be able to explain the reasons that you have come to your decision and justify why it is necessary. This is particularly important if your decision is initially unpopular with those that it affects.

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