Nepal Administrative Staff CollegeManagement Learning GroupCenter for Organization DevelopmentLeadership and Management Training for Army OfficersSession onProblem Solving and Decision Making SkillsYuba Raj BhusalDecember 08,2014
Table of Contents
ProblemsolvingDecisionMaking (DM)Importance of DMDecisionCategoriesDM process and TechniquesStyles of DMTheories/Models of DMFactors influencing DMCommon lapses in DMWays to improve DM abilityDM process & DM Problemsin NepalCase Study
ProblemsolvingTraditionally, it is argued thatproblem analysismust be done first, so that the information gathered in that process may be used fordecision-making.Problemsolving and decision making are recognized as central, crucial and skills of effective management.Problem solving isthe art of finding the ways to get from where you are now to where you want to be.The problem therefore isa gap between the present situation and a more desirable situation.Problem solving is the process of closing the gap (changing the current state into the desired one).
Problemdemands what went wrong! It requires sharp observations, analysis and specific comparisons all aimed atfinding acause.Decisionsituation demands a statement of clear objectives and careful evaluation of alternatives all aimed attakingaction.Problem solvingneeds techniques likeanalyzing(breaking into parts), synthesizing (putting together parts to make a complex whole) and valuing (thinking in relation to values andstandards).
It is achoicemadebetweenalternative courses ofactionina situationofuncertainty.A thought processof selectinga logical choice;Thestudy of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker.Need to weigh the consequences (positive,negative);Forecasttheoutcomesof eachoption and choosethe bestone;Importance of applying the concept ofmind,wisdomandconsciousness.DM is oneof the central activities ofthe management.
3. Importance of DM
DM is a process that is interdisciplinary, systematic, information based, involving uncertainties and concerned with actions.Each organizational entity needs decisions;Each decision has implications both positive and negative;DM is a key role of the Manager at different levels(individual, group, organizational, household, community, district, national and international);Top decisionmakers are often high risk takers, are impatient to get rid of problems & see risk taking as their responsibility.
4. Decision categories
a) Programmed:repetitive, routine choices, proceduralized, sequential.Presently, computer programming also available.b) Un-programmed:Novel, unstructured & less predictable.Complex and elusive.Intelligence combined with adaptive solution oriented actionrequired.
5. DM Styles
Authoritarian: manager decides without consulting team/group & passes it down;Consultative: advice, co-work, coordination;Participatory: joint decision of a team;Delegative: providing authority to decide;Rationale/ Logical: a good DM process. Identification of problem/diagnosis, analyze the causes of the problem, develop alternatives, rate/compare the consequences of each alternative; select the best one.
6. DM Process and Techniques
Analyze the causes of Problems
Devise alternative solutions
Choose the best Option
The Techniques: 6 ‘C’sConstructa clear picture what must be decided.Compilea list of requirements that must be met.Collectinformation on alternatives that meet the requirements.Comparealternatives that meet the requirements.Considerthe ‘what might go wrong’ with each alternative.Committo a decision and follow through with it.
7. Theories/Models of DM
Decisions can be made on following basis:Incremental: ‘muddling through’ is pragmatic, by applying past experience in similar cases;Rational: people make decisions by determining the likelihood of a potentialoutcome& thevalue of theoutcome through a systematic analysis;Mixed scanning: incremental and rational;Limited rationality: humans arenot all rational;Populist: media info, conference/ workshop/seminar findings, demand of delegations;Normative: consistency in DMacross situations as per the established norms and practices;Adaptive: situational/ a commonphenomenon.
8. Factors influencing DM
Factual/distorted/conflicting/overloaded information;Environment: External/internal (multiple and conflicting parties);Values (personal bias) and ethics (good for individual/society);Experience, knowledge and wisdom;Availability of resources;Psychological attributes (intuition/ perceptual ability, information capacity, judgment, risk taking propensity, creativity);Technology, culture and ethics.
9. Common lapses in DM
Relying too much on expert information: need to seek info from different sources;Under/over estimating the value of information received from the stakeholders;Pre-conceived notion (prejudice) on the issue;Timeliness (hurried, delayed, on time);Lack of analysis;Vested interest.
10. Waysto improve DMability
Manage theflow of informationfrom multiple sources;Evidence-baseddecision;Recognize the external/internalenvironment;Improveanalyticalability;Invite conflictingviews(from out of the box);Adoptparticipative/rationalapproach;Applycommon sense;Bevalue free;Maintainneutrality(from politics);Beethical(difficult in business decisions);Applygood personal traits(integrity, loyalty, trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring, civilized).
11. DM process & DM Problems in Nepal
Verbal: Especially in security, defense, immigration, revenue sectors;Written/recorded:tok-adesh,tippani,prastab;Lack of compilation of theprecedents(previous decisions)in working-manuals/journals (in Judiciary it is maintained);Not deciding, personal biasness, red-tapism, hassling, delaying, buck-passing/ shifting, avoiding, formalism; less ethical.Lack ofrationalapproach;Oversight Agencies’ activism.
12. Case Study
Mr. Ram Bahadur K.C. comes from Jajarkot district and now is working as Nayab Subba in DADO, Achham since 2066 after passing PSC exam from PSS Regional Office, Dipayel. He has already passed MPA first year (private) & appearing in the second year. His wife Sunita K.C., from Chitwan, while studying in Kathmandu also passed PSC exam of Kharidar from PSC, Narayani Zonal Office, Hetauda in 2068 and is working at District Administration Office, Hetauda.They also have a daughter Minakshi, now studying in class 12 in St. Xavier’s College, Kathmandu after passing a competitive examination for government scholarship as she was very talented. This family wants to be together for each other’s support and career development.Mr. Ram Bahadur K.C. urged CA Members from Achham and Jajarkot for supporting him to get things done. He applies to MOGA every year from 2068 for his transfer as per the Civil Service Rule, claiming that the family has right to stay together. He also approached some leaders of Employees’ Trade Unions. He followed it several times but nothing happened in it.Please examine the problem empathetically and analyze it carefully thereafter propose to the top management with your advice for taking an appropriate decision in this problem.While doing so you have to observe the related laws and apply your experience, knowledge and skills to come up with a decision that creates a ‘win-win’ situation to all the stakeholders in this process! Thank you.