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Posted on September 20th, 2012, by

The process of decision-making can, to a significant extent, define the effectiveness of the organizational performance and influence the competitive position of the organization on the market. In such a situation, the effectiveness of the decision-making process is crucial for any organization. At the same time, in spite of the variety of strategies and theories dedicated to the problem of decision-making, it is still hardly possible to find a universal approach which could be effective in different environment and situations. This is why it is necessary to take into consideration finding of specialists, such as Bazerman and Gladwell and evaluate their theoretical findings and practical recommendations in order to make the process of decision-making effective. Obviously, today, the effective decision-making is the way to gain the competitive advantage and to develop a positive organizational culture, optimizing the work of each employee and the entire organization.

In fact, many specialists (Bazerman, 2005) lay emphasis on the fact that the process of decision-making is often affected by human biases and stereotypes. At the same time, Bazerman (2005) point out that it is necessary to distinguish to factors that influence human capabilities of decision-making: innate abilities and acquired experience. What is meant here is the fact that people have an innate ability to take decisions. They are born with basic, innate instincts and abilities and decision-making is as natural for human beings as any other ability, sense, or instinct, such as breathing, vision, etc. Consequently, the process of decision-making can refer to the subconscious sphere or to the sphere of human intuition, when people are guided by the feelings, emotions and intuition in the process of decision-making.

However, this view on the process of decision-making can be severely criticized by opponents (Gitlow, 1997), who stand on the ground that an effective decision-making is impossible without a profound analysis and reflection on a problem or situation before the decision is taken. In this respect, the position of Bazerman (2005) seems to be logical and reasonable because he attempts to balance two extreme positions, according to which decision-making is either an innate ability and cannot be trained or, in contrast, it is a pure matter of experience and training that makes decision-making really effective. Instead, of these two contrasting positions, Bazerman (2005) attempts to find a compromise, a golden mean, which could appease the two extreme views on decision-making. According to Bazerman (2005), the process of decision-making is grounded on innate abilities of humans, but, in order to improve this process consistently people need to train their skills and improve their abilities of decision-making. In such a way, innate abilities are rather a foundation, on which human can construct their decision-making skills and abilities though a system of training.

It proves beyond a doubt that human have innate, instinctive abilities to take decisions since, in the prehistoric era, for instance, human should take decisions without reflection because the decision-making process was the matter of life and death. Today, decision-making has practically become a science or a kind of art, when a decision can be taken on the basis of different strategies and theories that can be applied by an individual before he takes a decision. Moreover, the growing complexity of decisions taken by people in the modern world forces them to improve constantly their decision-making skills and abilities. Therefore, people need training in decision-making.

At the same time, the speed of decision-making process is still crucial. In the contemporary business environment, for instance, the faster the decision is taken and the more effective it is the more competitive advantages a company can gain. In this respect, it is worth mentioning Gladwell’s concept of “thin slice”¯. In fact, Gladwell (2005) interprets “thin-slicing”¯ as the ability of people to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, people need to “thin slice”¯ in order to take decisions really fast, but, in the situation, when they do not have an extent experience. In such a context, it is obvious that Gladwell (2005) implicitly admits the existence of such a factor as human intuition which can influence the process of decision-making, because it is virtually impossible to take a decision, if there is no substantial experience. Therefore, if there is a lack of experience than there should be a substitute for experience, which can be defined as human intuition or innate ability of humans to take decisions.

Moreover, in his research of the decision-making process, Gladwell goes even further and develops a concept of a “blink”¯, which means that people think without thinking (2005). What is meant here is the fact that blink implies that people can take decisions using “thin-slicing”¯, when they have a limited amount of information, but they need to take a decision really fast. As a result, they use blink, when they take decisions almost automatically without spending time on thinking and evaluation process. Instead, they take decisions as if they are conditioned to do it using that limited experience they have. Gladwell (2005) argues that, today, people are overwhelmed with information and, therefore, they need to take decisions having little information and heavily relying on their intuition, because their experience is often insufficient to make a carefully planned and evaluated decisions. In such a way, Gladwell (2005) argues that in the modern epoch, when people can have difficulties with decision-making process because they are overwhelmed with information, they still can make better and more effective decisions with snap judgments than when they do with volumes of analysis.

On the other hand, Bazerman (2005) does not really share this view on decision-making as a purely intuitive process. Instead, he underlines that analysis is important and essential to take decisions effectively (Bazerman, 2005). Consequently, it is obvious that an effective decision-making process should be balanced. To put it more precisely, decision-making cannot be an intuitive process deprived of any analysis or evaluation of the current situation. At the same time, the decision-making process cannot rely solely on the analysis because carefully taken decisions based on a profound analysis need time. Moreover, such decisions are difficult to take because the amount of information available to people is enormous and they cannot process all the information they get effectively. Therefore, it is necessary to balance the analysis and intuition in the process of decision-making. The high rhythm of the modern life forces people to make decisions faster and faster that implies that they need to use the basic, core information concerning the decision they are going to take. In addition, they should take into consideration their own intuition. As a result, they will be able to take decisions fast and effectively.

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