Decision making is a process that plays an important role in our daily lives. Some decisions are not that important whereas other important decisions, when carefully carried out, can change the course of our lives. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the decision making process regarding my move to Australia for the Masters program. “The process of decision making involves making a choice among different courses of action and entails a cycle of activities and events that begins with identification of a problem and ends with the evaluation of implemented solutions” (John Campling, 2006). The process of decision-making can be categorized into programmed (routine) or non-programmed (strategic) decision making (Christensen, 1968). A programmed decision is one that we use in our everyday lives and are applied to recurring, routine problems that are often anticipated. Here we use information from past experiences to solve problems that we are quite familiar with (John Campling, 2006) . Non programmed decisions usually solve problems that are unanticipated and occur less often and rely on personal attributes such as intuition, creativity, experience, judgment etc (Christensen, 1968). Here people must identify the problem and act after assessing plausible alternatives. It usually requires creativity which helps in creating and evaluating alternatives and readiness to take risk which allows us to choose an alternative (Lipicnik, 2002). The type of decision I made was a non-programmed decision because it was applied to a problem that was not a recurring one. It was an issue that I had never dealt with before so I could not draw from my past experiences to resolve the issue and had to rely on my personal attributes such as judgment, and intuition. After completing my undergraduation in Biology in May 2010, I decided to move into a business related field as it has better job prospects. While I was searching for my options, my cousin told me about a Masters degree in Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Management being offered at Monash University in Melbourne. I became interested in the course and started to find out more about it by emailing the course director and consulting with other people. After receiving a lot of positive feedback from people about this course/field, and after consulting with my parents I decided to take the plunge and move to Melbourne.
Group vs. Individual Decision:
When faced with a problem, one of the major issues is deciding whether the decision will be individually made or in a group (John Campling, 2006). Decision making is also organized according to whether it is made by an individual or by a group (Christensen, 1968). There are pros and cons to both individual and group decision making. One of the advantages of an individual decision is that it is often quick and creates less of a conflict that may otherwise arise in a group decision. Advantages of group decisions are that there is usually greater amount of information, knowledge and expertise available and people are able to bring more options/alternatives to the table (John Campling, 2006). My decision to move to Australia to do my masters was a group decision as it involved many people including my parents, friend/cousin and others whom I consulted during my decision making process. As a part of the group decision making progress I was able to receive knowledge and suggestions from multiple sources which was of immense help in my decision making. As I received positive feedback from professors and friends regarding the course I was interested in, my parents became more open to the idea of my move abroad.
Rational Decision-Making Model:
The type of model I will be considering for the purpose of this essay is the rational/classical model which involves following a number of steps which provides a structured approach to decision making (John Campling, 2006). There are certain assumptions and characteristics that form the basis of rational decision-making. For example, decision makers should have clear understanding of the situation and of all available options at hand, and there should be a general consensus on the issue. They should pick an alternative that will maximize their chance of achieving the objectives (Heracleous, 1994). My major dilemma was choosing a course of study for my Masters degree. With all the options available today it is hard to settle on one thing easily. Also, because I came from a science background and because I had never taken a course in business, I was a little hesitant in moving into a business related field. The next step in decision making was to develop objective and criteria, which in my case was to do Masters in a course that would have a good scope in future, and also I was quite keen on working for a corporation. Time and money were also quite relevant to me as this course could be completed in a year and a half and I didn’t want my education to cost my parents an arm and a leg. During the decision making process, I considered other possible alternatives such as finding a similar course back home or working in a research lab for a while before I pursued further studies. When I analyzed the alternatives I realized that the best option for me would be to commence a Masters program as soon as I finished my Bachelors in Biology. The first alternative which was to find a similar course back home didn’t reap satisfactory results as either the cost of tuition or university expectation was too high. The second alternative was to find a job in a research laboratory after graduation. During the recent period of economic downturn, when companies were either laying off people or not hiring in general, I had seen many of my peers struggle to find a job in research laboratories. Ones who did find a job weren’t too happy because they were not satisfied with the hourly wages they were being paid even in reputed companies like Pfizer. My parents on the other hand wanted me to start my Masters as soon as I finished my Bachelors and they too were not keen on the idea of working in low paying research laboratories. Keeping all these things in mind I realized that coming to Monash was the best option as the cost of tuition was going to be somewhat less than universities back home in US and I could finish the course in a year and a half as opposed to the standard two year programs. To implement the solution, I discussed the entire situation with my parents and as soon as they agreed to it, I applied for the program being offered at Monash. A few weeks later I received an offer from Monash University granting me admission into their program. If this hadn’t been the case and I had been denied admission, I would have renewed the process by applying for another program at some other university. A weak point in my plan of action was that I didn’t have a back-up plan as I only applied to one university.
A “decision style,” which is a decision maker’s cognitive makeup is what influences how the person selects their course of action (Nutt, 1980). According to the decision framework methodology, there are four types of decision making styles: Directive, Analytical, Conceptual and Behavioral. We all use different decision making styles depending on the type of situation or problem we are dealing with, and depending on our psychological state of mind. Regardless of the decision making style we use, it leads to a decision choice that provides the best solution to a problem (Richard L. Daft, 2009). During my decision making process, it was conceptual style that came into play. People who use conceptual style in their decision making are more socially oriented in that they discuss their problems and possible alternatives with others, and gather as much information as they can from all kinds of sources (Richard L. Daft, 2009). I tried to gather as much information as I could about the program and the university by consulting people, including my parents and by researching online. It was only after assessing all available options and alternatives that I decided on Monash.
Decision making can be quite tricky and challenging in some cases. It is hence important to gather as much information from different sources and evaluate all possible alternatives to the problem or situation at hand before making a decision. Doing so will allow us to arrive at the best possible solution for the problem. My decision wasn’t an overnight one. It took me a couple of months of research and consultations with friends, family and university professors to make a decision. Low cost of tuition and length of the course were also a big influence on my decision. An advantage of my choice was that it was an outcome of research and discussion and there was no conflict in that it was a group decision to which everybody agreed. This significantly decreased the probability of risk in my decision making. I believe my decision was correct and am quite pleased with the way it is turning out as I am enjoying my units in University. If I had made the decision individually and without my parent’s consent, or without any research, it would have increased the probability of risk in any given situation.
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