the psychology of decision making

The Psychology of Decision Making

Decision making is the action or process of making important decisions. It could also be said to be the process of selecting a logical choice from the available options. When trying to make a good decision, a person must weigh the positives and negatives of each option, and consider all the alternatives.

For effective decision making, a person must be able to forecast the outcome of each option as well, and based on all these items, determine which option is the best for the said situation.

Decision-making can be regarded as a problem-solving activity terminated by a solution deemed to be satisfactory. It is therefore a process which can be rational or irrational and can be based on explicit or tacit knowledge.

Human performance has been the subject of active research from several perspectives. We make decisions about what to eat, where to go to, when to play and even what to wear. Decision-making is not streamlined to any specific aspect of life, it applies to all aspects. In psychology, decision-making is said to be a cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities.

Personally, I describe it as the freedom to choose from a variety of options in a bid to proffer solution to a problem at hand. Certain choices come with sacrifices and others do not. Just as in business terms, the sacrifices associated with decision-making can go a long way to improve a company’s performance or mar it.

Consider these instances, the decision to hire candidate A over candidate B, the decision to invest more in digital marketing or traditional marketing or the decision to choose to partner with company A over company B. due to the sacrifices involved in decision-making, one must be very careful and be sure to do appropriate weighing of the outcomes of every available option when making decisions.

Several factors influence decision-making, below they include:

  1. Experience: For an industry leader that has several years of experience and knowledge in a certain industry, his experiences form a very large part of his current and future decisions. He is aware of strategies that have worked and those that have failed in the past. Therefore, with this knowledge, he is able to make better-informed decisions when it comes to his area of expertise.
  2. Bias: These choices are more personal and can sometimes, be tagged irrational. For example, the decision to use dark blue leather office seats over black leather office seats.
  3. Age: Why do you think the younger generation take extra care to look at laptop processors, memory space etc. before purchasing a laptop while the older generation care less about these things.
  4. Individual differences: our individual differences is what makes us choose one religion over another, one noodles over another etc. Because we are all individually unique, A may prefer the red sweater while B may prefer the purple one. Our individual differences also play a very strong role in the decisions we make.

Each of these factors come into play depending on the situation upon which those decisions need to be made. However, irrespective of the situation at hand, it is important to think carefully before making any decision.

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