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Data and Information in Managerial Decision-Making

Introduction

Selecting an alternative over a set of other alternatives using any criteria qualifies as decision making process. In the process of decision-making, an assessment is carried out on the criteria assigned for each alternative. An evaluation is also carried out on the proposed list of alternatives. This is done to produce a concrete list of possible solution to the problem at hand. The problem of the decision-making process is that the process is carried out by several experts, who voice conflicting opinions that need to be incorporated in the decision-making process.1

Who makes the decision in an organization?

Decision- making can be carried out by either an individual or by a group of experts, depending on the complexity of the decision to be made. A group of experts is mostly involved, where there are important and strategic solutions to be sought. In addition, decision making by a group of experts may result to an introduction of several changes in the organization. Moreover, group decision making sometimes achieves departmental and organizational objectives.2 Nonetheless, the decision-making process should be democratic and should allow opposition of opinions, before making the final decision.

Managers in organizations are able to access large amounts of data. The managers also have technical experts for guidance in various aspects. The experts are able to help the managers by making sense of the data gathered through submitting detailed reports and analysis. These experts are drawn from the operations, finance, marketing and product development departments of the organization. The managers consult these experts, before arriving at complex decisions involving the organization. Managers also involve employees, who also form a part of the organization’s decision-making think-tank. The employees’ inclusion is important when decision making becomes more complex and more information is involved in the process. The process is however, different when a manager makes the decisions on behalf of the organization less demanding. Groups of employees are charged with the responsibility of collecting information from the large amounts of data accessed from both within and outside the organization.

In the process of expressing a complex problem, clear thinking is essential and hence the need to avoid the use of logical tools such as the use of decision trees. To be able to clearly present the process of decision making to an audience, the managers should use an influence diagram. The influence diagram is a method that is accredited to simplifying the expression of decision-making process. An influence diagram shows how a decision has been arrived at, and can be effectively used by managers to express a problem with ease to any target audience of the organization. To construct the diagram, the basic software’s can be used to draw the arcs and nodes to bring out the different function of each symbol.

Selecting a communication Style

In the process of communicating a decision, managers may be motivated to use either autocratic communication style, consultative, participative or empowering style. All these communication styles have their merits and demerits. The managers should therefore, adapt a communication style that will fit in the present situation. To help determine the most appropriate style that will suit the situation, the managers should consider four different variables namely; the kind of information to be conveyed, the timing, the ability of the audience to respond to the decision as well as the likely hood of the audience to receive that message.3

Communicating the decision made

To effectively communicate the decision made by the department to the organization and the organizations strategic constituents. The following communication strategies should be employed by the managers after making the decisions on behalf of the company:

  1. Reviewing the performance of the organization, the perception of the stakeholders and other publics regarding the organization. It will be achieved by conducting an audit that will reveal how the organization is perceived and how it has been communicating prior to the campaign.
  2. Creating a SMART objective, that is an acronym that guides the creation of communication objectives. This will ensure that the right message is conveyed. An understanding of what the organization intends to convey to the stakeholders is important, if the decision made is going to be accepted by the organizational public. The objectives to be conveyed should therefore be specific, measurable, and attainable with the intended period, results –oriented and time –limited. This is important and will be evident in the final evaluation of the communication campaign.
  3. The manager should ensure that he/she targets a specific public both internal as well as external. The intended publics will help the organization create specific messages for each of the audiences. The manager should also ensure that the required tools and resources will influence the way they convey the messages to the targeted audiences. The tools will also involve the conceptualizing of specific messages to be conveyed to the various publics targeted by the communication.
  4. Channels play a very important role in the transfer of the messages from the source, which in this case is the organization to the intended audiences. Channels are therefore, important aspects to consider when coming up with a communication campaign. This is because the message may be good, but fail to reach the intended audience. The managers should therefore, take great interest in choosing a reliable channel to convey any messages to the targeted audiences. The channels should be well categorized as there are those meant for internal audiences, such as the intranet in-house publications as well as those for external audiences such as radio and television.

When the decisions made have been conveyed to the strategic constituents, it is imperative to assess the effectiveness of the implemented communication method. Among the ways to know the effectiveness of the methods is through the use of informal methods to measure how effective the communication strategies are. Some of these ways include;

  1. Impact Log: The managers can collect feedback from the audience by compiling an informal in-house record. This can be achieved by looking at the publications both in print and electronic for evidence of how well your communication efforts have been publicized.
  2. Conducting a formal survey: The managers can carry out a formal survey that will be representative of the internal and external publics of the organization. This will help bring out the true position of your communication efforts.
  3. Conducting Key-Informant Interviews: The managers can carry out a formal group interview to collect in-depth feedback from stakeholders, who are knowledgeable about the organization and its objectives. The interviews can provide insight into what the public’s feel about the decision.

Bibliography

Short, P. M, Short, R. J. & Brinson, K, Information collection: The key to data-based decision making, Eye on Education, New York, 1998.

Footnotes

  1. Paula, M. S., Rick, J. S. & Kenneth, B, Information collection: The key to data-based decision making, Eye on Education, New York, 1998, pp5-116.
  2. Ibid, p, 72.
  3. Ibid, p, 28.