Decision Making: Definition, Process, Types and What can Prevent it

People often say that decision-making is complex for them. Unfortunately, we all have to do it all the time, from trivial topics like what to eat for lunch to life-changing decisions, like where and what to study, and who to marry. . Some people put it off by searching endlessly for more information or getting other people to offer their recommendations, others turn to decision-making by voting, inserting a pin in a list, or tossing a coin.

What is decision-making?


In its simplest sense, decision-making is choosing between two or more courses of action.

In the broader problem-solving process, decision-making involves choosing between possible solutions to a problem; decisions can be made through an intuitive or reasoned process or both.


Although people talk about it as if it were a magical “sense,” intuition combines experience and personal values. Your intuition is worth considering because it reflects your learning about life. However, It is not always grounded in reality, just your perceptions, many of which may have started in childhood and may not be very mature.

Therefore, it is worth examining your instinct closely, especially if you have a powerful feeling against a particular course of action, to see if you can find out why and if the surface is justified.


The reasoning is using the facts and figures in front of you to make decisions.

The reasoning is rooted in the here and now. It can ignore the emotional aspects of the decision and, in particular, issues from the past that may affect how the decision is implemented.

Intuition is a perfectly acceptable means of making a decision, although it is generally more appropriate when it is simple or must be made quickly. More complicated decisions require a more formal and structured approach, which typically involves both intuition and reasoning. It is essential to be wary of impulsive reactions to a situation.

Decision-making process

It is the process of making decisions by identifying a decision, gathering information, and evaluating alternative resolutions.
A step-by-step decision-making process can help you decide things more deliberately and thoughtfully by organizing relevant information and defining alternatives. This approach increases the chances of choosing the most satisfactory option possible.

Step 1: identify the decision.

You realize that you must decide when you are between two or more options, where you do not know what to choose or which should be the best decision, so try to define the nature of the decision you must make clear. This first step is crucial.

Step 2: Gather relevant information.

Gathering relevant information before making a decision is essential since you need information, the best sources, and how to obtain them. This step involves both internal and external “work.” Some of the data is internal: you will look for it through a self-assessment process. Other external information: you will find it online, in books, other people, and in other sources.

Step 3: identify the alternatives.

As you gather information, you will likely identify several possible courses of action or alternatives; you can also use your imagination and additional information to build new options. In this step, you will list all the possible and desirable choices.

Step 4: weigh the evidence.

Use the information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each alternative to the end. Assess whether the need identified in Step 1 would be met or resolved using each option. As you go through this complex internal process, you will begin to favor specific alternatives: those that seem to have the most significant potential to achieve your goal. Finally, he places the other options in order of priority based on his value system.

Step 5: choose between alternatives.

Once you have the four steps above ready, you can select the alternative that seems the best for you; you can even choose a combination of other options. The choice in Step 5 will most likely be the same or similar to the alternative you placed at the top of the list at the end of Step 4.

Step 6: take action.

You are now ready to take positive action by starting to implement the alternative you chose in the previous step.

Step 7: review your decision and its consequences.

In this final step, consider the decision results and evaluate whether or not you have resolved the need you identified in Step 1. If the decision has not met the identified need, you can repeat specific process steps to make a new decision. For example, you may want to gather more detailed information or something different or explore additional alternatives.

What can prevent effective decision-making?

Several problems can prevent effective decision-making. These include:

1. Insufficient information

If you don’t have enough information, you may feel like making an unfounded decision. Take the time to gather the data necessary to inform your decision, even if the timeline is very tight. If necessary, prioritize information gathering by identifying which information will be most important.

2. Too much information

The opposite problem, but one that is seen with surprising frequency: having so much conflicting information that it is impossible to see “the wood for the trees.” This is sometimes called analysis paralysis. It is also used to delay the organization’s decision-making, with those involved requiring more and more information before they can decide.

This problem can often be solved by bringing everyone together to decide what information is essential and why and by establishing a clear timetable for decision-making, including an information-gathering stage.

3. Too many people

Making decisions by committee is difficult, as everyone has their views and values. While it is essential to know what these views are, why, and how they are crucial, it can be necessary for one person to take ownership—responsibility for making a decision. Sometimes any decision is better than none.

4. Acquired interests

Decision-making processes are often founded under the weight of vested interests. These interests are often not openly expressed but can be a crucial block; it is difficult to identify and therefore address them, but sometimes it is possible to do this by exploring them with someone outside the process but in a similar position.

It can also help explore the rational/intuitive aspects with all stakeholders, usually with an external facilitator to support the process.

5. Emotional attachments

People are often very attached to the status quo; decisions tend to involve the possibility of change, which many people find difficult.

6. No emotional attachment

Sometimes it’s hard to decide because you don’t care. In this case, a structured decision-making process can often help by identifying some real pros and cons of particular actions, which you may not have thought of before.

Many of these problems can be overcome by using a structured decision-making process. This will help to:

Reduce the most complicated decisions to more straightforward steps. See how any decision is reached and plan decision-making to meet deadlines.

Many different decision-making techniques have been developed, from simple rules of thumb to highly complex procedures. The method used depends on the nature of the decision being made and how difficult it is.

Decision-making types


Rational decision-making is the most common type taught and learned when people decide they want to improve. These are logical and sequential models emphasizing listing many possible options and then determining which is the best. Often the pros and cons of each option are also listed and scored in order of importance.

The rational aspect indicates considerable reasoning and thinking to select the optimal option because we emphasize thinking and doing well in our society. There are many of these models, and they are trendy. People like to know what the steps are, and many of these models have actions performed in sequence.

People would love to know what the future holds, which makes these models popular because of the rationale and rationale behind the various steps.


The second types of decision-making are intuitive models. The idea here is that there can be absolutely no reason or logic for the decision-making process. Instead, there is an inner knowing, intuition, or some sense of what is right to do.

And there are probably as many intuitive types of decision-making as people who can feel it in their hearts, bones, guts, etc. There are also various ways that people can receive information, be it in pictures, words or voices.

People also talk about extrasensory perception. However, they are still picking up the information through their five senses, and of course, we have phrases like “I smell a rat,” “It smells like fish,” and “I can taste success ahead.”


Many decisions result from combinations of rational and intuitive processes, this can be deliberate when a person combines aspects of both, or it can happen unintentionally. For example, a person has listed the pros and cons of the options, assigned them numerical values, ​​and added them all (The rational part), but the result is not satisfactory. They are somehow uncomfortable (the intuitive part), so the parameters change, adding the numbers differently. This new result is more “satisfying,” so they go with that.


Instead of evaluating all the possible options and choosing the best, we determine the first one to give us the result. We select an option that is “good enough,” one that meets our needs and sacrifices other potentially better options much I satisfied.

Decision Support Systems

Because computers can process large amounts of data quickly, they were soon used to help make decisions. Decision Support Systems range from a simple spreadsheet to organize information graphically to very complex programs that contain data from international companies and include artificial intelligence that can suggest alternative options and solutions.

Various decision-making systems depend on how many people are involved, the form of the information being processed, what kind of result is required, etc.

There are pros and cons to using computers in this way, and of course, the computer is only as good as the information it is processing. This means it still comes down to humans.

Recognition prepared for decision making.

Gary Klein has spent considerable time studying human decision-making, and his results are fascinating. He believes that we make 90 to 95% of our decisions in the form of pattern recognition and suggests that what we do is collect information from our environment about the decision we want to make. We choose an option that we think will work, We mentally rehearse it, and if we still believe it will work, we move on.

If it doesn’t work mentally, we choose another option and run it in our heads. If that seems to work, we go with that, we pick the scenarios one by one, we go through them mentally, and as soon as we find one that works, we choose it.

He also points out that as we get more experience, we can recognize more patterns and make better decisions more quickly.

Of interest here is that the military in many countries has adapted their methods because they are considerably more effective than any of the types of decision-making we have already discussed. You could say that their model combines rational and intuitive approaches. It is also an example of satisfaction.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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