The research title proposed is Assessing the outcome of Management Decisions and its impact on Institutional Sustainability. The main objective of any shareholder is to have a high return on their investment. In order to increase the shareholder wealth, it is important that business generate a high profit. For a business to earn a high profit, the organization must make sure that they make effective decision making. By conducting this research it is possible to identify the impact of decisions made in the past and perception of the stakeholder regarding the decisions made by the manager. Findings of this research will help the management to enhance their decision making skills and help managers in making effective decisions. Effective decisions will have positive impact on organizational performance which will contribute in growth of company. It will also help to enhance the profit margin and increase shareholder wealth. When organization grows, it also contributes positively to the economy state of the country.
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Consistent growth of the company will help the organization to sustain the competitive environment and provide good quality services to the society. Society will have better opportunity in education, which will in turn enhance the social status as well.
Shadwells Education is recognized as one of the most popular institutes in Colombo among the students during the period of 1985 to 2007 suddenly faced a drop during 2008 onwards.
There was a huge drop in the number of enquiries made and also in the number of registrations. There were few critical decisions made during the last 6 months of 2007, which really affected the growth of the organization. It is identified that there were several factors contributed to this situation. This shows that, there is a critical issue to be handled urgently to overcome the problems faced in current situation.
One main reason for this situation is the arrival of several new educational institutions in western Province. Most of these institutes are branches of well recognized educational institutes in other countries like Australia, England and so on which had very high brand recognition among the target market. During this period the management made several changes at once in different areas such as strategy, human resources, and marketing policies and so on.
With drop in registrations and enquiries, a big question is raised as whether the management decision to change several factors in the organization at this point of time is a good decision or not. At the same time, with so many new entrances to the region, what would be the customer perception and awareness regarding the institute?
With the current economic situation in the country, and the existing competitiveness in the educational industry, it is becoming very difficult to survive the nature of competition. Most of the organizations' main objective is to sustain the current difficult period rather than earning a high profit. In this situation, the organization should make sure that all the decisions made by the management should be done carefully such that it will contribute to the growth and sustainability of the organization. Hence it's mandatory to know the impact and outcomes of the decisions made by the management of the organization and to know the customers perception. Knowing this will help the management to enhance their decision making skills and change any strategies and policies if needed. To enhance the quality of decision making skills, it's necessary to know what type of data and technology should be used in future.
The research is conducted to assess the outcomes of Management Decisions made by the institute and to find its impact on Institutional Sustainability. The past critical decisions made by the management will be listed and analyzed to find out the outcomes of the decisions made and its impact on organizational performance.
To know the organizations' ability to survive and sustain in the current economic and competitive environment, it is necessary to know the amount of awareness the institute have created among the target market and also their perception about the institute.
The aim of this research is to understand the main factors affecting the Decision making and the impact it can make on the sustainability of the institute.
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The main objectives of this research are:
To understand the main factors affecting decision making.
To identify the outcomes of past decisions made.
To identify the awareness created by the institute and their marketing activities
To figure out how the sustainability of the institution is influenced by the current decision making process.
Decision and Decision Making Process
Decision is made when a person makes a choice. A decision is a choice made from available alternatives. When there are no alternatives, there is no need of decisions. Hence identifying alternatives are very important to decision making.
In his report on Decision Making, Ruth McGuire defines decision as: "A decision involves choice and therein lays the difficulty - making the right choice." Further He points out that, when there are a variety of choices and being unclear about which to one to select, can be stressful. In his report, he further discuss that while making a decisions the ideal situation is somewhere between the two extremes: not being too quick to make a decision and investing some thought into which option will produce the best possible outcome. [Source: Decision Making By Ruth McGuire URL: http://www.pharmj.com/pdf/cpd / pj_20021102 _decision.pdf ]
In his journal of decision making, Ruth McGuire has mentions two possible outcome with different levels of importance, value and risk. He points out that sound decisions are those made based on information gathered, received and analyzed, while wrong decisions which have a high risk and lead to disastrous consequence are those made based on intuition or emotion.
Theodore Roosevelt said that the worst thing you could do when you have to make a decision is to do nothing. Even if you make a wrong decision, the very making of it and the learning from it are steps forward. As Frederick Langbridge added, "If you don't follow through on a decision, someone else will pick it up and use it. When you make a decision, jump in with both feet, don't just stick your toe in the water. Be daring, be fearless, and don't be afraid that somebody is going to criticize you or laugh at you. If your ego is not involved, no one can hurt you."
Eric Garner explains that Decisions are a mix of what we currently want (goals); what we currently know (information); what we believe (outcomes); and what we can do (actions). There is no guarantee that any of these will stay the same or that they will come right. [Source: Decisions: How Close Are You To A 100% Strike Rate?, By Eric Garner, released date :11/9/2005, ManageTrainLearn.com]
Decision making is a process of choosing an opportunity among different range of alternatives. To make a choice, there should be alternatives. If not there would be no necessity to make decision.
Hence before making a decision, it is necessary to study the problem properly and find out all possible alternatives. While selecting alternatives it is necessary to find out which is the best alternative, which will guide to achieve organizational goals efficiently.
Many business fail because of bad decisions. So it is necessary to make a good decision by making a good judgment of future. Good decisions can always be made by using the aid of decisions making tools available.
There are many definitions used to define the word Sustainability. All Conveys the same message, but in different perception.
The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as "Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is one widely accepted definition of sustainability. [World Commission on Environment and Development. Brundtland Commission 1987.]
What is sustainability to the Business?
While considering a business environment, the sustainability can be defined as "A pro-active approach to ensure the long-term viability and integrity of the business by optimizing resource needs, reducing environmental, energy or social impacts, and managing resources while not compromising profitability."
The best way of sustaining in business is to have financial sustainability under any circumstances. This can be easily achieved by utilizing the resources in an optimal way, so that the wastage would be minimal.
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Spectrum Innovation Group has found that, Human activities, such as excessive consumption and waste of energy and resources, are affecting the environment and harming people in various ways. They suggest that many business practices are not sustainable because they "compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." They further say that a successful sustainable business balances the following conflicting goals: Economic Performance, Environmental stewardship, Social Responsibility.
Figure Sustainability framework
Sustainable development is all about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.
Sustainability development can be achieved through initially identifying and recognizing the needs of each and every one (social equity), maintenance of stable levels of economic growth and employment, and using natural resources carefully and protect the environment. Sustainable development is essentially a goal or vision of many of the organizations who foresee the future growth and development.
Figure Sustainable Development
The research will be carried out in two phases. During the Phase 1 the outcome of decisions made in last three years will be studied and analyzed to find out the main factors that affect the decision making, especially considering the vital decisions made by the top management of the organization. Phase 2 is mainly concerned with identifying whether the different outcomes of decision making identified during phase 1, makes an impact on sustainability of the institution.
The Population of the research includes the management and Staff of the institution who involve in decision making process, visiting lecturers, past students, Active / Current Students, Prospective Target Audience and other stakeholders such as parents, course governing bodies.
Since the Management and staff of Shadwells Education are those who have the power to make the strategic and operational decisions, it is planned to conduct a series of interviews with them and find out the decision making process followed by them, and how they find facts that are useful during the decision making process. During the interview process, it is also intended to find out the level of usage of information systems and information technology during the decision making process. The management of Shadwells Education comprises of Directors and Mangers. The Student Counsel Officers, Marketing Executive, IT Executive and Junior Executives are also will be interviewed since they are involved in making operational decisions when required in order to carry out their responsibilities in an effective way and enhance the organization performance.
Students are the main stakeholder of the organization since they are the one who bring business to the organization and only income generating source. Therefore it is very important to gather information from them to know their perception about the decisions made in the organization. Their perceptions is very importance to the study, because only if they feel the organization is progressing in the right path, they will be joining the institute for new courses and even recommend the institute to new potential customers.
It is also equally important to get the perception of the past student especially those who are drop outs from the course, because they are the people who knows about the operations of the organization, and also the approach of the management. They are in a better position to comment about the decision making skills of the management, because either they have spent more duration with the institute or they left the institute because of some issues or dissatisfaction with the services rendered. They will be in a better position to say what are the things that should be improved and what are the outcomes and impact of the decisions made in the past.
Finally the study also included the potential target market, those who are willing to join the institute in the future to pursue better qualifications. Getting information from them will help the organization to analyze the awareness among them and what they feel about the organization. This will help to analyze the impact of marketing management decisions made by the management of the institute and to find out the outcomes of the decisions. This will also help to identify their perception about the competitors and their service rendered. It is also possible to know what the potential customers are expecting from the institute.
Since there are a huge number of students, past students and potential customers, it is advisable to use questionnaire to gather information from them. It is easy gather information from the active students, since they are currently following some course at the institute and hence it will be possible to circulate questionnaire among them during a lecture session. To gather information from the past students, the institute can use the contact details or email address available with them to circulate the questionnaire. Getting information from the potential customers will be a challenge task and should be conducted carefully by using a proper plan. Potential customers include those who have made enquiries in recent past, advance level students who could be joining some institute to pursue further education and working people who are intended to obtain better professional qualification to enhance their career.
The sample will be selected from different group stakeholders such as the management and staffs those who are included in the Decision Making Unit (DMU), students registered with the institute include both active and past students, and also not leaving out the potential customers who might be joining the institute in the future and the parents and governing bodies who are the connected stakeholders.
While selecting the sample following factors will be considered.
From the DMU, different people will be selected from different level of management so that it will be possible to get information from all three managerial levels such as Strategic, Tactical and Operational levels.
Active students will be selected from student database such that students from different courses and different will be included in the sample. This will also make sure that the sample will contain students who are of different age group, occupation, sex and so on.
Past students will be selected from different period of time, so that the sample will include people those who know the activities of the management and decisions made by them during different period.
Top management of governing body to be interviewed.
Potential customers can be selected from the enquiry database already available at the institute by picking few contacts based on the period, and circulating questionnaires at schools among the advance level students who might be joining the institute in near future and so on. Few leading schools can be selected for this purpose including those schools from which the institute got more students in the past.
From Student database and potential customer enquiry database, the parent information will also be gathered.
The size of the sample that is chosen for the study would be 250 and the sampling method used is stratified random sampling. Since there are different categories of people in the population, and the sample size is restricted to 250, there is a minor sampling error, in selecting the respondents from the sampling frame. Because of the time constraint in conducting the research, it is not possible to eliminate the sample error. With more time, it will be possible to cluster the sample in a better manner and reduce the sample error by increasing the sample size.
While selecting the samples, it was made sure that it represents the population to a great extent. Students were selected depending on the year they registered starting from 2006 and up to 2011 for different courses.
Both Primary and secondary data sources will be used during the study.
Initially the secondary data sources available will be collected to conduct a proper study of the problem. The secondary data sources planned to use are Company Profile, Awareness Analysis Report from 2006 to 2011, Budget and Marketing Plan for each year, Financial Statements, Inquiry details and registration details and Student database. These data collected would be used for analysis purpose and also to compare and validate the findings of the research study.
Primary data will be collected through structured interviews and questionnaire.
Initially a series of interviews will be conducted with the decision making authority of the institute and a series of structured questions will be asked. The interview question will be designed in such a way that it gathers necessary information regarding decision making process. After analyzing the data collected from the Interview process, the main myths of the management and their perception will be recorded. A questionnaire will then prepared depending on the Management perception and circulated among the students and the potential market.
The objectives will be answered by analyzing data gathered through structured interviews and questionnaire and summarizing the findings accordingly.