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Every year, every month, every week, every day, even every minute each of people make decision. In fact, the time allocation of people is the result of the thousands of large and small decisions. Does people realize that why people make some decision?
In the journey of life, people always encounter a turning point and allow themselves to continue thinking about the future direction. For example, when people explored many different areas of knowledge, people maybe find that it is different between studying major and their thought, or it is not their interests. Moreover, people feel very worry whether turn or transfer in a long time; or graduation is coming, people do not know whether to go to graduate or employ. Why is this? In any case, it needs people prepare to make decisions at any time.
Edward Feigenbaum¼ˆEdward, 1996¼‰, Simon's student recalled, on one occasion he asked his teacher: "Why do you can master so many areas of knowledge?" Simon's answers made him unforgettable: "I am obsessed with the single thing paranoia. I am obsessed with something that is the decision making." Throughout the life of Simon, although he was interested in many areas, but his core research revolved around the decision making of the internal of the organization. In "The new science of management decision" (Simon, 1997), in particular, he stressed: "the decision making and management is almost synonymous." In the "Administrative Behavior" (Simon, 1947) Foreword of the first edition, he considered: "the decision making is the core of the management." In the "Administrative Behavior" (Simon, 2007) Foreword of the fourth edition, he said again: "The process of decision making is the key of understanding organization." In several management works these expositions evolved into a famous essay: "management is the decision making". So are humans are free to make their own decisions?
I. What is Decision
In general, the answer is "no". When a people make a decision, they must combine with many factors, and it contains of the subjective and objective. If a people are free to make a choice, they must take the responsibility of the result. So humans are not free to make their own decisions? The core concepts and the fundamental premise of the Simon's theory of decision is "limited rationality" (Hughes, 1993). In a response, Simon's research has a well-known "ant" as a metaphor: an ant crawls on the beach which is covered with large and small stones, and the twisting and turning track when ants crawls, does not mean the cognitive ability of ants is complex. When people are regarded human as a behavior system, and the human and the ants are the same, these cognitive ability is extremely simple. Ants crawl at the seaside, while it can sense the general direction of their nests, but it could not predict the obstacles that may arise on the way, and their vision is very limited. Because of the cognitive limitations, while the ants encounter a rock or other obstacles, they have to change the direction of forward. The behavior of ant which seems complex is caused by the complexity of the coast. Similarly, human like this kind of ants in the decision making of the process, according to the limited information and the local circumstances, human make decision in accordance with a less comprehensive subjective judgments. In addition, there are many factors which can affect human to make a correct decision, such as people's skills, knowledge, values and background and so on. People can say the degree of the knowledge which the manager own determines the degree of the decision and action of the rationality and satisfaction.
Decisions are the important manifestation of managers' capacity. Human all know the importance of the decision making, so what is the decision making. The decision means that human makes a choice from a variety of options for achieving certain goals and when human handles the actual problems. Popularly, the decision making is a decision. The decision making that is defined in psychology is a response of choice for a lacking certain circumstance. The center problem of decision making is the uncertain for solving the matter (or an event, object). If an event can only have one choice, then in a sense the decision is a response of choice for the uncertain events. Currently, there are many definitions of the current decision making, but generally it is carried out from the narrow and broad definition. Decision making is a process which consists of raising questions, establishing objectives, designing and selecting options, this is a broad interpretation. Secondly, decision making is regarded as making the final choice from several selected options, this is narrow interpretation.
II. The Features of the Decision
Decision making has three main features: firstly, decision making is a activity of achieving a specific goal, if it does not have goals then it is impossible to make decisions and if the goals have achieved then we need not make decisions; secondly, the propose of decision making is the implementation, and it is redundant that decision making is not prepared to implement. Thirdly, decision making is selective, if only one option, it can never optimal, rather than if human do not pursuit the optimal then the decision making is worthless. So, a successful decision making has some features, such as targeted, feasibility, selective and dynamic. Not all decision making are the same, and it also has a lot of categories, such as programmed and non programmed decision making, strategic and tactical decision making, individual and collective decision making and deterministic, risk-based and non-stereotyped decision making and so on. These decisions are suitable for different areas. For example, tactical decision making belongs to this kind decision which consists of raw materials and machinery of business purchases, the plans of production and sales, sources of goods and the arrangement of employees. Yet the programmed decision making is that how to handle the substandard product of the industry and how to solve the expired food of sales. Therefore, in practical applications, people should be based on different circumstances.
Decision making is not only existed in the application of the enterprise, but also it is existed in real life, and they are interlinked. In the process of decision making, as the result of choice, the decision making may be the best option, but it may be the worst choice. So it is essential that how to make a decision. If the decision making is reasonable, then it is executed smoothly and the efficiency is increased; contrary, if the decision is unreasonable even wrong, then it is executed rude and efficiency will greatly reduce. To make the informed and science-based decision making, first of all, it is essential to research the nature, characteristics and development law of the object itself; second, people research it from the static and dynamic aspects and then it can attain a new understanding and the new concepts; last but not least, to make a scientific and reasonable decision, it must also have sufficient information to ensure.
Any kind of decision activities has the elements (Rizer, 2001), such as the main decision making, the alternatives of decision making, uncontrollable factors and the result of decision options. And the decision is a process which it contains a serial of interlinked activities. Moreover, decision is influenced by other elements, such as time, circumstance, values and the attitude of the risk and so on. As a process, decision contains a lot of stages. Generally, the process of the decision is consisted of five steps: first, providing the problems of decision, decision is beginning in an existed problem; second, determining the goal of decision, the same problem may have different goals of decision, so it can result the different decisions; third, programming the options, this is use for the selective options; fourth, analyzing and choosing the option, because it is impossible to finish the programming decision in once; last, implementing and feedback the decision, whether the decision is reasonable and whether the decision reach the expected goal, and it need to check through the action. Although in the process of decision human should choose the best choice, not all of the best option is feasible. For example, the classical story is "how the mouse gives the cat to hang the bells", the fable tells human that the decision does not pursuit perfect program, but it pursuits whether the alternative can be executed and be implemented. So if a decision is infeasible or beyond own ability, human first remove it and then discuss the other options. Benjamin Franklin, U.S. scientists, has suggested a good way that is the cost benefit analysis. He listed the advantages and disadvantages of each program, which some of the advantages gave to the rating of 0 to +10 and some of the disadvantages gave the rating of 0 to -10. At last, he added all scores of the advantages and disadvantages. Thus, he can attain the total score of each program and decide which one is the right program. This is famous "Benjamin Franklin decision making". Reference to this approach, human consider and evaluate the program once again. Once again, people should choose the "right" program, rather than choose the most accepted program.
The rational decision making is an important function which is necessary for people to improve the level of management. However, the reasonable decision making is often affected by many factors, such as circumstance, decision maker, organization and time and so on. So people should pay more attention to these factors.
Firstly, it is very clear that the environmental factors influence the organizational decision, so the specific performance is presented the limitation of organizational decision in the condition of several environments (Godfry-Smith, 2003). For example, the different characteristics and start points are constrained to the producing of the organizational decision in some circumstances, such as historical and formal circumstance, advantage and disadvantages circumstance, internal and external circumstance and so on. Therefore, at first in executing the management of decision people should investigate and analysis the details of all conditions of circumstance, and determine the start point and expired goal of organization in the future activities. Thus, it can keep the good continuity and development of organization. Second, policy maker are the key factors to affecting decision process. The impact on decision makers is mainly through some elements to produce the affection, such as the knowledge of decision makers, psychological, ideas and ability and other factors. This means that the process of the decision is a comprehensive inspection of the maker. In decision making, either determining the purpose or choosing the means, the maker must compare the purposes and means. Moreover, the maker needs to mobilize the psychological factors and overcome every kind of psychological barriers. In addition, the maker also has the ability of taking the risk. Therefore, people should pay attention to improve their level of knowledge and the psychological quality in the process of learning decision. Third, as the decision of organization, it must be affected and limited by the organization. Because any decision is the negation of the past decision, the implementation of the decision can bring some changes to organization. Last, time in itself is not only an important part of decision but also it is the main factor to limit decision.
The individual characteristic will affect the decision in making decision, such as intelligent factors, emotional factors, personality factors and motivation factors. If people make the right and effective decision, then people must capture and attain information in good observation and control the condition of decision, this is intelligent factors. Moreover, in emotional factors, people must have the high responsibility, high moral sense and rational attitude and have active mind, intellectual passion, the calm. So people can make decisions more scientific. Good motivation is necessary for decision of people, and it is the main factor to determine the success or fail. It includes awareness, pressure, resistant and self-control and so forth. Human behavior is the external presentation of internal psychological behavior. The personality is the psychological feature of the stability of people. Thus, it is very obvious that the decision is affected by personality. Based on above, decision of people is not free to determine.
III. Evaluating the Decision
The final step in the process of decision is to evaluate the decision. For each decision, people must know what are their strengths and weaknesses, and whether the decision is consistent with the expired targets. Look at the degree of fitting between decision and action, whether scientific, practical, operational, etc. So, the core of the decision is to select the excellent. General, the criteria of selection is value standards, time standards and optimization. However, the best standard is difficult to reach in reality. In general, the best option is only to expend the human, material, financial resources, time as soon as smaller and to fit the change of circumstance and accidents as soon as possible; moreover, the risk and the other side effects are minimal; last, the effect is the fastest.
In addition to rational thinking, the personal subjective experience is also important. People think about every decision once again, and consider the possible results. What is their experience about results? People may think some of the results are right and some of the results are not quite right. People may ask themselves: "if they do this decision, what is the best result and what is the worst result." On second thought, there is no way to improve the feeling "wrong" decision? Maybe people need more information to eliminate their doubts, but the instinct may be right and people do not consider the side effect.
Human can study the method that U.S. army used, "After Action Reviews, AAR's". After finishing the military tasks or during the training course, the researchers hosted the forum so that each person can speak their own personal experience and idea. They discuss the basic problems, such as which part is presented good performance? Which part is not good in performance? Which parts should be remained? Which part needs to improve? At last, the researchers collect advises, as the basis of future training. In decision making, people can write some basic problems in a paper and reply one by one. So in the future, people can accumulate a lot of experience and help them make a decision.
The greatest tragedy of life is to act rashly. The winners will never fight a battle without preparation. People should not impulse in decision, especially should be careful. Decision is that people can use a tool, once people made a new decision, it will bring people a series of new directions, new initiatives, new results and even new life. To be successful, it must decisive. "Decision" in itself is the means of action, so when people make a truly decision, the following is action. People must remember that if it is not like a good concrete action to achieve, so people should not make a hasty decision. If people want to make the right decision, not only requires people to accumulate rich experience in practice but also know the internal rules and control it smoothly. Generally, successful people are the masters of good decision making, so a careful decision is a short path to success and make people attain the benefits. Human can not be free to make their own decisions.