Art of Decision-making for Better Accountability


Prof. Dileep Kumar M.


Decision process refers to the various activities, which constitute most problem solving and policy-making processes: initiation, estimation, selection, implementation, evaluation and termination. Decision-making is one of the managerial tools, which significantly influences the human behaviour at work.  Making a decision implies that there are alternative choices to be considered, and in such a case we want not only to identify as many of these alternatives as possible but to choose the one that best fits with our goals, desires, lifestyle, values, and so on. To develop a work culture, which ensures the accountability in decision-making process, care should be taken by the management to eliminate majority 'sensitive factors'. The sensitive factors in the decision making process which includes personal prejudices, preconceived notions, subjectivity, biases, unrealistic expectations, irrationality, unethical norms, rigidity etc. Such human factors directly influence the human expectations sentiments, motivation and morale. Management should develop maximum objectivity in decision-making process and ensure employee cooperation and will to get better benefit.   A work culture, which ensure the degree of involvement in generating alternatives, planning and evaluation results are significantly related to satisfaction and high performance. The degree of participation provides employee to use their skill and knowledge to get desired outcome. A group involvement in decision-making process will improve the quality of decision and its effective outcome. There is the probability to identify better relationship between the value system, human effort and performance.

Steps for Better Decision Making

To ensure better decision-making following steps to be taken into consideration.

1. Avoid hasty and snap decisions.
2. Segregate reversible and irreversible decision.
3. Move from simple to complex decision.
4. Write down all other ideas related to each decision.
5. Look at all possible alternatives based on its effective implementation.
6. Beware of the risk and uncertainties.
7. Consider those will be affected by the decision.
8. Consider employees level of morale and commitment affected by the decision.
9. Recognizing the decision as one that has moral importance
10. Aware of legal consequences of decision making
11. Asses the risk on good, better and best decisions
12. Imagine outcome of the decision in advance.
13. Ask for SMART questions (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and time based.
14. Brainstorming alternative solutions with your staff or others
15. Encourage group members to exchange ideas, choices, and suggestions.
16. Trust yourself to make a decision
17. Decision should always be made to the scene of action
18. Keep in mind those who are going to affect your decision or affected by the decision
19. Don't believe in cent percent certainty of your decisions
20. Keep in kind the objectives of your decision making effort
21. Avoid too much of information which delays the decision making
22. Be aware of information overload that leads to forgetfulness
23. Selective use of information for effective decision
24. Be aware that a good decision is a logical one based on the available information
25. Decision must meet the stated objectives most thoroughly and completely.
26. Decision must meet the stated objectives most efficiently, with concern over cost, energy, and repercussions.
27. Risk and drawbacks to be ascertained in advance and plan to meet those risks to be made.
28. Understand the irrevocability of the decisions.
29. Accountability from the decision affected people to be considered into.
30. Keep in mind the availability of time, cost, energy and resources for decision-making process.
31. Ethical decisions requires the ability to make distinctions between competing choices


The quality of corporate governance is often reflected in the quality of decision-making.  Managers have to combine reliable information gathered through systems and processes with openness and integrity in the making of key decisions. Major factor to be considered is the behaviour of the subordinates in decision-making process. It is important to assess the emotional and mental state of the employees who will be affected by the decision. Managers should be flexible and use emotional strategies to tackle many conflicting decision making situations. Sufficient information from top level and effective cooperation from lower levels members will improve the quality and quantity of the outcome. Performance excellence required effective delegation of authority.  Decision-making can be hard. Almost any decision involves some conflicts or dissatisfaction. Decision-making will of course involve risk, but this is reduced where the culture is open and challenge is accepted and supported. The more open and honest managers and organisation are with the more the cooperation they get from the employees. A honest and open interaction and participative decision making have better opportunity in developing trust and confidence among employees that build upon open and transparent information sharing. Good decision-making is an essential skill for career success generally, and effective leadership particularly.

Bibliography and References

Ahuja, K.K.  (1997) 'Organizational Behaviour', Second edition, Kalyani publishers, New Delhi - 110 060.

Burke, W.  (1986), 'Leadership as Empowering Others'. In Sreevasthava (Ed.) 'Executive Power', San Francisco Jossey Bass.

Chris MacDonald (2002) A Guide to Moral Decision Making,' EthicsWeb Bookstore. Canada.

Cole, R.E., Bacdayan, P. and White, B.J. (1993): "Quality, Participation and Competitiveness", California Management Review, Vol. 35, Spring, No. 3, pp. 68-81.

Erze, M., Early, P., and Hulin, C. (1985), 'The Impact of Participation upon Goal Acceptance and Performance: A Two Step Model'. Academy of Management Journal, No: 50-66.

Henci L Sisk (1973), 'Principles of Management', South Western Publishing Company, Cincinnate, 1973, P. 690.

Kahan, R. and Katz, D. (1960) 'Leadership Practices in relation to productivity and morale' D. Cartwright and A. Zander (eds.), Group Dynamics: Research and Theory, 2nd ed. (Elmsford, NY0: Row, Paterson.)

Rajendran, K. V. (2001), 'Developing a Culture of High Performance', Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol, 37. No 1. PP 421-433.

Prof. Dileep Kumar M.

Source: E-mail April 12, 2006


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