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Analysis of Different Styles of Decision Making

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Decision making can be defined as choosing a particular option from multiple alternatives, and it is often carried out in order to maximize certain desirable quantity, such as reward or utility. Decision making is one of the fundamental cognitive processes of human beings that is widely used in determining rational, heuristic, and intuitive selections in complex scientific, engineering, economical, and management situations, as well as in almost each procedure of daily life. Since decision making is a basic mental process, it occurs every few seconds in the thinking courses of human mind consciously or subconsciously.

Decision making is a process that chooses a preferred option or a course of actions from among a set of alternatives on the basis of given criteria or strategies (Wang, Wang, Patel, & Patel, 2004; Wilson & Keil, 2001). Human decision making has been studied by a variety of disciplines including economics, philosophy, psychology and statistics. Behavioral decision making, as the field is generally known in psychology, is being studied in all branches of psychology. The starting point of much work on human judgment and decision making is rational choice theory. J. van der Pligt, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2001Decision making style is called a situation which includes the approach, reaction, and action of the individual who is about to make a decision (Phillips, Pazienza, & Ferrin, 1984). There are five different decision making styles. According to Scott and Bruce, individuals generally have different levels of all five styles, although one style is usually dominant (Allwood and Salo, 2012). A rational decision making style is characterized by the comprehensive search for information, inventory of alternatives and logical evaluation of alternatives. In another word, rational decision-making style is ascribed by use of reasoning and logical and structured approaches to decision making.

An intuitive decision making style is characterized by attention to details in the flow of information rather than systematic search for and processing of information and a tendency to rely on premonitions and feelings. That is, decision-making style is defined by dependence upon hunches, feelings, impressions instinct experience and gut feelings. The dependent decision making style is characterized by getting direction and support of others before making a decision. In a different word, a dependent style is defined by a search for advice and guidance from others before making important decisions. Avoidant decision – making style is defined by withdrawing, postponing, moving back and negating the decision scenarios. That is, an avoidant style is characterized by attempts to avoid decision making whenever possible. Spontaneous decision-making style is characterized by making rapid, quick, impulsive and prone to making “snap” or “spur of the moment” decisions. A spontaneous style is characterized by a feeling of immediacy and a desire to come through the decision-making process as quickly as possible (Scott and Bruce, 1995; Spicer and Sadler Smith, 2005; Thunholm 2004; Rehman and Waheed, 2012) Burnett (1991) studied the decision making styles and self-concept. He used the conflict model of decision making to investigate further the influence of self-concept on decision making behaviors. The findings empirically validated Janis and Mann’s (1977) link between decision making self-esteem and decision making style. Modest relationships, in the predicted direction, were found between decision making self-esteem and the three decision making styles.

Modest relationships, in the predicted direction, were found between decision making self-esteem and the three decision making styles (vigilance, defensive avoidance, and hyper vigilance). Specific facets of self-concept were related to self-reported decision making behaviors. Radford, Mann, Ohta, and Nakane (1991) examined the importance of cultural influences on self-reported decision making styles, with particular emphasis on the dominant cultural pattern (i. e. , group orientation vs. individual orientation). Suresh, and Sabesan (1993) made an attempt to find the difference between male and females in decision making. Leon Mann’s decision making questionnaire II was used to collect the data from 87 post graduate students of distance education in psychology. It was found that males and females did not differ significantly in vigilant decision making styles. However, males and females differed significantly in non-vigilant decision making styles. Engin Deniz (2006) found that life satisfaction positively correlated to problem- focused coping and seeking social support. It was also found that life satisfaction is significantly correlated to decision self- esteem and all decision-making styles (vigilance, buckpassing, procrastination, and hypervigilance). In addition, significant relationships were found among coping with stress, decision self-esteem and decision- making styles. These results indicate that the self-esteem significantly influence on the decision making process.

Initially, three decision making patterns or behaviors were outlined by Janis and Mann (1976). These patterns are vigilance, defensive avoidance, and hypervigilance. Among these three, vigilance is the most effective decision making style. In a more recent study, a revise model comprising of four patterns-vigilance, hypervigilance, buck-passing, and procrastination were identified (Mann, Burnett, Radford, & Ford, 1997). Vigilant decision making style can be defined as, ‘a methodological approach utilizing a number of discrete stages which link clearly defined objectives to a consideration of a range of options with the final decision emerging from a careful assessment of the ramifications of each decision alternative’ (Brown, Abdallah, & Ng, 2011). So, a vigilant decision maker needs to consider the goal or objective of the situation requiring a solution, collect information relating to the goal, outline strategies for reaching the goal, evaluates each of the strategies in terms of their pros and cons, and reach the decision effectively without any negative consequences. Hypervigilance is another kind of decision making which can be defined as, ‘a style of decision making that is linked to substantial amounts of decision conflict or stress in the decision maker.

The decision maker perceives that there is insufficient time or inadequate information to make a carefully considered decision and searches somewhat impulsively for a solution that will alleviate the stress and hopefully deal with the problem through this rather haphazard and impulsive approach’ (Brown et al. p. 453-454). By using this style, the decision maker can remove the decision conflict in a short span of time. The third kind of decision making style is buckpassing. It is a way of avoiding any responsibility for making any decision by suggesting that it is others responsibility to make that decision. The decision maker easily eliminates the decision conflict by using this style. Usually this type of defensive to reaction can be evident in any large hidden bureaucracy. The fourth and the final kind of decision making styles is procrastination. It is an initial attempt to put off making any decision at all. Though there is some recognition of responsibility by the decision maker, he/she feels so overwhelmed by the decision process and eventually the decision is delayed or is not made at all. (Rahaman, H. M. Saidur)

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