Decision making is one of the most important functions of all managers. Each manager has to routinely take decisions which carry consequences. Due to the unpredictable nature of these consequences, managers must make sure they consider all aspects of decisions carefully. Over the course of time, managers have evolved several modern techniques for regulating non-programmed decisions.
Programmed and Non-programmed Decisions
The study of management categorizes decisions into various types. One such category is programmed and non-programmed decisions. The difference between these two kinds of decisions is basically in the way in which managers apply them.
Programmable decisions are those which are routine and repetitive in nature. Managers often have standard operating procedures to deal with them. For example, if an employee wants a holiday, he will just ask his supervisor for the same. The supervisor may either approve or deny the leave as per the standard procedure.
On the contrary, non-programmable decisions arise due to other problems that do not occur routinely. Unlike programmable decisions, there can be no standard procedures for these decisions.
For example, several employees might suddenly take a day off from work without permission. The reasons for this could be willful insubordination, protest, inability to commute, etc. This is no longer a routine problem because no manager might have thought of it. Therefore, in this case, the top level management might step in and take some unprecedented action.
Learn the Quantitative techniques of decision making here.
Modern Techniques for Non-programmed Decisions
Since managers do not have to take non-programmed decisions very often, they lack standard procedures for solving them. These decisions generally require a careful study of the problem using scientific analysis. Furthermore, managers have to probe all possible alternatives before selecting one.
The following are some modern techniques managers can employ to take such decisions:
1. Creative Techniques
Since non-programmable decisions do not have standard solutions, managers have to come up with creative ideas. Creativity basically means the ability to think of new and innovative ideas.
The most popular method to encourage creativity is brainstorming. In this technique, a group of people gather around and think of all possible ideas. Some of these ideas might be either impractical or ludicrous. However, managers can use inspiration from them to come up with solutions.
The technique of brainstorming generally involves more than one person. This, in turn, leads to more creativity of ideas and opinions.
2. Participative Techniques
Another method that managers can use for decision making using a democratic approach is the participative technique. Under this method, managers actively involve employees in the decision-making process. Managers encourage employees to raise their grievances and suggest their solutions.
The most important benefit of this technique is that it fosters a sense of togetherness between the management and employees. Since the employees also take decisions, they are likely to implement them with more responsibility and commitment. Furthermore, this boosts their morale and helps them perform better at their work.
3. Heuristic Techniques
This technique basically relies on the fact that taking complex decisions cannot always involve systematic implementation. This is because the consequences of such decisions are often unpredictable and sporadic.
Therefore, managers use a trial-and-error approach in this technique. They take each step individually and evaluate it before moving on further. Managers can use scientific techniques and modern technology to make the process easier.
Questions on Non-programmed Decisions
Question: Mention the missing words in the following sentences.
(a) __________ decisions arise routinely while non-programmed decisions do not.
(b) __________ is the most popular method to encourage creativity in a group.
(c) __________ techniques generally rely on a trial-and-error approach.
(d) __________ techniques encourage the employees to raise their concerns and suggest solutions.
Answers: (a) Programmed (b) Brainstorming (c) Heuristic (d) Participative