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Interpersonal Process: Decision Making in Organizations

The crucial part of any organization is making good decisions in various contexts. To reach good decisions, they need reliable information, experience in interpreting information, and reaching a consensus. However, this process of decision-making remains incomplete without the consultation process as the view and expertise of other people in an organization can help to admit one or alter one’s mind.  The process of decision-making is supported by various tools and techniques that help an organization better sort and analyze the information by adding numerical and objective precision to minimize the level of subjectivity.

As the organizational decision-making process is people-centric and it always has some level of subjectivity in it, some sort of training can enable managers to be better decision makers. A supportive environment where one is fairly criticized for making the wrong choices and proper support from other group members and superiors enables managers to make better decisions (Kippenberger, T, 1998).

The importance of the interpersonal process of decision-making is obvious in all types of decisions made in the organizational context such as the strategic decision of investment and direction of future growth taken by the board of director and the tactical decision about material handling and effectiveness at departmental levels taken by managers. In addition, in the 21st century of market-oriented and customer focused approach also puts pressure on employees to make a decision about their own tasks, responses to customers and improvement to business practice.

The process of first collecting alternative possibilities and then converging on a solution is referred to as decision making. In fact, when we decided we try to cut off from all other alternatives as the Latin root of the world decision suggests and means. In the presence and emergence of new innovative solutions and huge variations in the ways business is being done, the decision-making process still remains a human process. However, the advance methodologies and MIS have reduced the level of human efforts in collecting and sorting the information thus making the decision-making process comparatively less complicated and difficult.

As we have already explained that decision-making is a human-centric process, the importance of interpersonal skills of influencing others, conflict resolving, communicating, and conveying the messages etc cannot be minimized.  Decision-making is not only confined to only choosing among the alternative solutions and diverging but this process also involves dialogs, brainstorming, contemplative reflection, critique and conflict resolution. In addition, interpersonal processes of decision making are much evident in new types of organizational structures such as team-based matrix structure where collaborative and group decision-making are increasingly being used to enhance decision-making process as compared to the conventional decision-making processes.

Globalization:

The fast spread of the phenomenon of globalization is increasing the present level of complexity o the ways of decision-making to collect and process the data becomes a difficult and cumbersome issue. As boundaries of the countries are getting wider and non-evident in the presence of globalization, organizations are under huge pressures to make decisions collaboratively to effectively manage the flow of goods, services, labor, and capital.

These organizations to win the increasingly competitive environment have started to rely on participatory and inclusive approaches to decision-making and knowledge creation. As global organizations have their offices spread across many countries of the world make use, they have to arrange meeting online, face-to-face discussions and group participation from distant and geographically disparate locations. This process of decision making utilizes certain online technologies and solutions to increase the level of efficiency, however, these tools only support the human-centric decision-making process and don’t become an alternative to the interpersonal process of decision-making. In addition, these tools enhance and improve communication, learning, creativity, and problem-solving abilities of management (Anonymous, 2007).

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Group Decision Making:

Over the past few years group, decision making has become much common and popular as its important function is to come up with a collective decision through discussions, and diversity of ideas, and thus making this process more interpersonal. Sometimes individual members’ enduring attitudes is shifted to the more polarized group position. One of the benefits of this interpersonal process of decision-making is the group members’ learning from each other and mutual persuasion. However, the viewpoint of one member has a strong influence on the behavior and attitude of other members even if they sometimes don’t give due importance to each other’s arguments (Isenberg, 1986).

Seeking the arguments of most participants but also resolving and mitigating the minority objections is another form of group decision making referred as Consensus decision-making. It is more participative, collaborative and interpersonal approach of decision making. For instance, many organizations use Robert’s Rule of Order for structuring debate and passage of proposals to reach a majority decision, however, the goal of full agreement and consensus is often missed.  As this process often formulate adversarial debates and competing factions, disturbing group members’ relationships, it becomes much difficult for a group to cooperatively and collaboratively implement a contentious decision (Jeffery, A. B., 2005).

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