An understanding of cerebral management will reveal the pastime of managers in harnessing organisational resources to achieve the desired end. Managers are confronted with challenges and issues that require resolution, clarity and decision almost all the time. Some of the issues are trivial while others are important to the well being of the organisation especially in terms of bottom line and strategic performance.
The managerial environment is becoming too complex and dynamic. This requires rational thinking and rational decision making. No longer will heuristics or rule of the thumb produce any effective solution to organizational problems and challenges. Rationality in decision making is no longer negotiable while irrationality is untenable.
Rational decision making model is a traditional approach to understanding decision making. It is idealistic in that it does not always capture the decision making pattern of the practicing manager but what should constitute the managerial decision making frontier.
It is often referred to as the rational economic model. It presumes that managers, who are indeed the decision makers, are rational and hence would always engage in a sequence of steps that will enhance the probability of attaining the set goals.
The model prescribes a sequential decision making process with a flow that includes opportunity or problem solution, opportunity or problem recognition, opportunity or problem definition, generation of alternatives, information gathering, evaluation of alternatives, selection of an alternative, implementation of selected alternative and feedback through the evaluation of the effectiveness or otherwise of the alternative.
Opportunity or problem recognition is key to effective decision making. Without opportunity or problem recognition it may be difficult to define the phenomenon or place it in proper perspective. Generation of alternative approaches to coping with the situation depends largely on how well the situation is defined.
There is usually a need to gather information on the alternatives so as to ascertain their desirability after an empirical analysis. Thereafter one option is selected after proper screening of the alternatives. The option selected is implemented and subjected to further evaluation to provide feedback that is juxtaposed with the original problem.
The problems with this model include simplistic assumptions that all alternatives will be considered and screened; that accurate information will be available at no cost; and that decision makers are totally rational beings without coloration of emotion and other vices which are part of their individual frames.
Most often than not managers do not always engage in rational decision making as a result of their emotional make up, degree of competence, dearth of relevant information, groupthink and time constraints. Consequently, mistakes are made and resources are wasted on “solutions that realize little ultimate value for the organisation” (Berret-Koehler, 2002). As managers, the truth is that we satisfied rather than maximise all of the time (Vecchio, 2006).
Within bounded discretion, I consider the model an effective one for adoption in my organisation. It will serve as a guide to line managers and professional cadre to developing solutions to problem based on rational thinking devoid of emotion and rule of the thumbs which appear to be the rule than exception.
The whole idea is to provide them a framework for empirical problem solving. However it is important that training be conducted for them especially in the area of problem recognition, ideas generation and evaluation.
1. Hoenig, C, (2006) “Developing Exceptional Problem-solving Skills”. In Business The Ultimate Resource, 2nd Ed,Basic Books ( A Member of Perseus Books Group).
2. Vecchio, R.P (2006). Organizational Behaviour: Core Concepts. 6th Ed, Thomson South- Western