Decision making is a process to arrive at a decision, the process by which an individual or organization selects one position or action form several alternatives. Decision making is an essential part of modern management. A manager performs all his tasks and functions through making decisions. He is continuously engaged in the decision making process while setting goals, determining plans and courses of action, formulating strategies, policies and procedures, hiring, promoting, firing and transferring employees, assigning jobs and goals to subordinates, supervising and guiding them and evaluating their performance etc. decision making is thus a key part of manager’s activities. It permeates through all managerial functions such as planning, organization, direction and control.
According to Haiman
Decision making is a course of action chosen by a manager as the most effective means at his disposal for achieving goals and solving problems.
According to Lopez
Decision making is a conscious human process involving both individual and social phenomenon based upon factual and value premises which concludes with a choice of one behavioral activity from among one or more alternatives with the intention of moving toward some desired state affairs.
According to George R. Terry
Decision-making is the selecting of an alternative, from two or more alternative, to determine an opinion or a course of action.
According to Henry Sisk and Cliffton Williams
A decision is the selection of a course of action from two or more alternatives, the decision making process is a sequence of steps leading to that selection.
Decision making, thus is an act of projecting one’s own mind upon an opinion or a course of action. In decision making three aspects of human behavior are involved:
i. Cognition-activities of mind associated with knowledge
ii. Conation-the action of the mind implied by such words as willing, desire and aversion
iii. Affectation-the aspect of mind associated with emotions, feeling, mood and temperament.
Features/Characteristics of Decision Making
i. An intellectual activity
The process of decision-making is basically a human and intellectual activity. It is a mental exercise which considers and evaluates all the alternatives for realizing certain objectives.
ii. A process of selection
Decision making implies that there are various alternatives and the most desirable alternative is chosen to solve the problem or arrive at expected result. A decision is basically a process of choice making.
iii. Decision making is always goa-oriented
Decision making like any other management process is goa-directed. It implies that decision maker attempts to achieve some results through decision making.
iv. An element of commitment
A decision is a resolution or commitment of mind to act in a certain manner in the given circumstances. It may involve, to do or not to do anything.
v. Evaluation of alternatives
Before taking any final decision. The decision-maker evaluates various pros and cons of the different alternatives, implies uncertainty about the final result and each possible action.