All 5 entries tagged Rdm

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April 22, 2012

How successful SMART is with two alternatives…

SMART is a good technique for multi criteria decision analysis as it can objectively qualtify even the qualitative factors and make comparisons among them. However, if there are two alternatives just to choose from, I dont think SMART can work really efficiently. It is because it requires to give how well the alternatives work in respect to the criteria or factors that are responsible for making the decision. So, here the worst choice gets zero and the best gets 100. So, if there are only two alternatives, one has to get a 0 and other has to get a 100, no matter how closely they are in terms of performance for that particular factor. Thats why, there could be a case here where there is a lot of biasedness where even though one choice maybe a little worse than the others is some and lot better than the other in the others. That may lead us to take the wrong decision. That is why I feel is that if there are just two alternatives and even though thee is a multi-criteria decision to take, SMART would not be a very robust option, and thus, I feel AHP would work better in these cases.

April 16, 2012

Making Decisions is the hardest art of it all

While doing the PMA, I have realized that making decsions is in fact the hardest art of it all and yet it is everywhere. Every small or big thing, we are required to make decisions but even though we make decisions almost daily in our lives, we can never master this. Everytime you look back at a particular decision, I do feel there were components or things attached with the decsion that I forgot to consider or the thing that could have had a big bearing on the decision I took. These arethe decisions based on the gounds of the information that is available to you or the things you think you know about...heuristic decsions. However, when we move onto making rational decsions based on some tools and techniques, it becomes all the more harder, first to make a decision as to which technique to use and even harder to make decisions while working with a particular technique to apply that i the right manner. And as always with all the decisions, you certainly do feel that you could considered a certain thing here or there that could have led you to choose something else or to work with a tool in a better way. So, I wonder even though we do practice the art of decision making so very much, can we ever be satisfied or perfect when we do make our decision. I guess maybe satisfied to a certain extent but not perfect. That is why I feel decision making is the toughest art of it all. 

March 06, 2012

Decision Making tools can be made biased as well!

Today while using one of the tools I realized how difficult it is to remove biasedness from a decision. Earler I thought that there are just certain biases that exist within a person's mind and it is upto him to think logically and overcome any bias that he may have got due to his experiences and knowledge.

However, today when we were using one of the tools to make a decison on the excercise we were set I realized that the tool is as unbiased as the person or the team ants. The tool itself can be made really bias if the team is adamant on making one decsion or wants to make a certain decision. These decision tools require the team to select the factors that they want in the decsion making tool and it is upto them to give the importance they feel about that factor. Now, if a team thinks that one of the option is better and wants it to score higher than the others, there is a lot of scope of providing arguments where one can give higher weights to factors in which a certain option/alternative is better than the others and automatically the decison making tool will give you the answer that yes, that is the correct alternative.

This thing really surprised me as I never had thought that a decision making tool could be altered according to the needs of an individual and it just undermines the importance of them for me. Two different person given the same kowledge and assumptions asked to use the same tool could very easily arrive at opposite decisions just by the way they intepret different factors that influence the decision.

It made me realize that even if we see any decision made with the help of a certain tool, no matter how good that tool is, it should be our duty to check if that was indeed made unbiasedly, if the person or the group really had no favourites while they were making the decision. It just tells you how inherent biasedness is in any decision and it just make me wonder if it is indeed possible to make any decision without it being altered in any way possible according to an individual's liking.

March 01, 2012

Group Decision making…how effective is it?

Earlier I felt that group decision making is not at all useful and is a waste of time and energy and a single person should take a decision. On MBE, I realized how important it is to have different views and perspectives to a single problem and how it may help generate so many alternatives so that you could be confident that you have looked at all possibilities and considered them properly. But now, RDM has shown some light on the problems that exist in the groupthink as well and how one may try to tackle them so that it really becomes as efficient as we consider it to be.

Well there has been a lot of debate whether working in a group is the right way to take a decision and even under that there are a lot of options like leader being autocratic in taking the decision, then leader consulting with the group and taking a decision, taking a decision in a democratic way where everyone's vote is counted as equal, or else making a situation where each group member tells his points to the leader and to each other and then finally leader takes a decision based on his judgement and the information he has gained from his group members.

Generally, there a lot of problems associated with groupthink.The major problems include that when the majority of the members are having one point of view, the minority or it could be a case where one person find it difficult to put forward an opposite view which may be of relevance and the group loses out on a very important consideration while making the decision.

Also, there may be the case where an introvert person who generally finds it difficult to speak in groups may hold back his views or any doubts back in his mind and the group remain unaware of his considerations. Furthermore, there may be a case where the group members are from different departments and might be biased in their point of views and might exagerrate on certain things that would be a positive for their department but not for the organization as a whole.

We need to take into account all these factors when we are deciding to depend on a group to come to a decision. Generally, in group decisions it is preffered not to have the democratic or the extreme autocratic decision making as democratic decision may be wrong and may contain a lot of biasedness and autocratic is just the opposite of group thinking anyways. So, it is best to have a group making a decision where everyone is putting forward to every other member and the leader itself and the final decsion is made by the leader based on the the learning from what he hears from his group members in an unbiased ay. Also, it is important to have a devil's avocate in a group who challenges any points put forward by the other members so that whosoever puts forward a point can really make others understand his point of view and the leader can be sure if that person really has a logic behind it or not. Also, it gives the leader an opposite view to consider and he can see both sides of the coin while making the decision.

So, a group consultative method I feel should work in the majority of the situations and can help reach group the most optimal decision based on the data and facts available.

February 29, 2012

Decision–making requires a lot of thinking… is tougher than I thought it to be. We learnt in class how most of us use our System-1 in making the imporant decisions in life. Is it good? Forget it being good, it is awfully horrendous. According to so many studies, we are deceived by our eyes, by our ears, by our understanding of quantative methods, probability and even logic. Our systems-1, our intutive being cannot be trusted. It is really unreliable. People can play so many games with you and it is possible to make someone see something, make him hear something; it is just funny and very surprising how easy it is to manipulate thinking, visuals, hearing,etc. of someone. Yes, they are not always wrong and we should trust them more often than not, but to take important decisions, well hell no. We need to have to fall back on our systems-2 thinking for making decision. We need to follow so many logical steps to arrive at an important decision. We need to have a proper mechanism which we should follow and critically evaluate our options against one another to reach to a certain decision.

Even then, there are so many biases that we are suffering from. We suffer from these biases even when we know about them and somehow just cant do anything about them. We are biased towards issues that we have heard of. We try to recall the information we have heard about a certain topic and tend to take decision on it based on any small bit of information we have about it without going into its roots or trying to find out everything related to that situation. We even take decisions based on our moods which is far from being logical and represents mood congruent bias. We sometimes decide on a certain situation based on our past experiences without taking into account whether better choices are avilable right now or has the situation changed in any way. There are so many more these kind of biases and they all just lead to sub-optimal decisions. We need to be careful of them while getting to any decision.

And then there are fallacies that we need to be careful of. They are just arguments people have based on baseless facts without any proper data or proof to back them and is more often than not an individual's point of view that is itself biased. People tend to argue against certain points based on the person that is proposing that issue, using colourful language to try and make people against it, stating baseless points against it in different ways, restating the same baseless points in a loud tone,etc. These are just certain ways that people try arguing about topics. We need to be careful of such arguments and make our decision with no influences from these sort of arguments.

So, we can see that there are just so many points to consider when we take a decision and there are just countless opportunites where one can go wrong and may be influenced in any manner. We should learn to keep our minds unbiased while coming to any decision having researched properly about the subject in a logical way. It is only then one can aspire to take the optimal decision. Even if I think of taking any decision in the past, I find myself suffering from so many biases and would have really changed atleast the approach to come out with a decsion if not the decsion altogether. It is the approach you take to come to a decsion is what matters and is important to come to the most optimal choice.

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