Everyday, we’re faced with decisions to make. Sometimes, we wonder if things could have gone differently if we had opted for an alternate decision. It is therefore, important to learn how to make smart decisions to avoid regrets.

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Decision-making can be regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Every decision-making process produces a final choice that may or may not prompt action.

Decision-making can also be regarded as a problem-solving activity terminated by a solution deemed to be satisfactory. It is therefore, a reasoning or emotional process which can be rational or irrational and can be based on explicit or tacit assumptions.

Every human performance with regards to decisions has been a subject of active research from several perspectives. Different disciplines have viewed decision-making under various scopes.

Psychologically, decision-making examines an individual’s decision in the context of a set of needs, preferences and values the individual has or seeks.

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Cognitive perspective regards decision-making as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment.

Normative analyzes decisions with the logic of decision-making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to. Logical decision-making is an important aspect of life and is applicable in almost all professions. For example, a clinical decision-making involves a diagnosis and the selection of appropriate intervention.

Types of Decision-making

There are basically two distinct types of decision-making. They are; rational and irrational decision-making.

It is thought that if all humans are rational and are free to make their own decisions, then they’d behave according to rational choice theory, which says that a person consistently makes choices that lead to the best situation for himself/herself, taking into account all available considerations including costs and benefits. What is really interesting is that the evaluation of considerations is from the point of view of the person. So, a decision is not considered irrational just because someone else finds it questionable.

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Irrational decision-making involves making decisions without regard for what the best choice is and consideration of various factors that may affect such choice. This type of decision is carried out without reasoning and critical thinking. In some cases, this results in due to the complicated nature a problem presents itself. It is important to however, desist from making this type of rash decisions. No matter how complicated a problem manifests itself, it is essential to identify and analyze it with the various alternatives and considerations attached to it. Irrational decision-making usually leads to regrets later in life.

Decision-making Techniques

Decision-making techniques can be broadly separated into two; group and individual decision-making techniques. For the purpose of this post, we’ll only take a look at individual decision-making techniques because that’s the one you’ll encounter most in life.

The individual decision-making techniques include:

1. Decision balance sheet

This technique of decision-making involves analysis of merits and demerits of alternative choices. The choice with more merit is chosen from the choices.

2.Simple prioritization

This involves prioritizing alternatives based on need and going for the option/alternative with the highest priority.

3.Satisficing

Satisficing is a technique of decision-making that examines alternatives until only the first acceptable alternative is found.

4.Acquiesce to an authority

This is a simple decision-making technique whereby an individual follows the decision of an authority. It is otherwise known as “following orders.”

5.Anti-authoritarianism

This is rather opposite of acquiesce to a person in authority. The individual goes for the most opposite decision by a mistrusted authority.

6.Flipism

This is an irrational decision-making that involves using a coin or a dice to make decisions.

7.Automated decision support

This technique of decision-making involves setting up criteria for automated decisions.

8.Decision support system

This involves utilizing a decision-making software.

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Steps in Decision-making

-Objectives must first be established.

-The objectives must be classified.

-Alternative actions must be developed.

-Alternative must be evaluated against all the objectives.

-Tentative decision is evaluated for more consequences.

-Role playing may be used to clarify conflicts involving parties.

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