Decision making is a complex cognitive process of selecting a type of action from among various alternatives. Each process of decision making produces a final choice. The result can be an action or an opinion of choice.
Decision making is available for any living organism with a nervous system. It concerns every individual and every group. It is a method of reasoning, which may be based on rational and / or irrational arguments. This process is activated when we feel the need to act without knowing how to direct our actions. Preferring to leave it to chance (to make heads or tails) is also the result of a decision.
The rational decision making is an important aspect of scientific professions. For example, the medical decision making includes the diagnostic and treatment prescription. However, several studies show that in certain situations (requirement for rapid action or lack of specific information) experts can focus on their intuition.
Daily life is full of situations involving decision making: to organize the weekend, shopping, voting, …
We cannot “see” a decision, having said that the observation of external behavior can give us information on status of the decision process. Decision making is a complex cognitive process of selecting a type of action from among various alternatives. A theory studying decision making is called a decision theory.
We can distinguish different types of decision:
- Authoritarian: one member makes the decision.
- Majority: the largest group decides for all.
- Minority: in a smaller group makes the decision for all.
- Unanimously: all members agree.
There are different levels of decision to be taken in a company:
- Strategic decisions concern the company future over a long period (more than 5 years). Decisions are made by the highest hierarchical level, i.e., either by the Directorate General or by the State. These decisions are unique, casual.
- Tactical decisions concern the company future in the medium term (2 to 5 years). Decisions are made by senior frames. These decisions are infrequent, unpredictable.
- Operational decisions concern the company in the short term (less than 2 years). Decisions are taken by the executives. These decisions are frequent, highly predictable.
In certain situations, decision making process must take into account a large number of parameters. Computer systems were developed to assist in the analysis of the impact and reduce the risk of errors. Some of these systems model cognitive decision making.
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