Description:Inweek two, we were introduced to the PrOACT model which is basically astructured model used in decision making characterized by eightstages as was proposed by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney and HowardRaiffa. The acronym, PrOACT, simply stands for Problems, Objectives,Alternatives, Consequences and Take-offs.Of the eight, there are five main stages of the model.These involve coming up with a problem that the decision should bebased on: the problem stage, justifying the importance and what oneplans to achieve through solving the problem: the objectives stage,creating the best possible solutions that can be applied to theproblem in bid to solve it: the alternatives, weighing the possiblealternatives against the expected outcomes to create the picture ofhow the future would be like if the alternatives were to be applied:the consequences, identifying the best alternative with regards tohow dominant a consequence is and how best it meets the objectivesthat we hope to achieve: the trade-offs.Inthe last three stages of the model, we are familiarized with thereactions to the selected alternative in stage five, where we lookinto the risks of choosing a certain alternative, clarifyingconsequences and assigning probabilities: the uncertainty stage. Oncewe are aware of the uncertainties, we then weigh the desirability byoutcomes and understand the willingness to take the risks and endurethe undesirability and desirability: the risk tolerance stage.Finally, in the linked decision stage, we examine how our decisionsimpact future decisions such that, in the event that we are facedwith a similar problem, how likely are we to apply the samealternative or the implications it may have on other different future decisions.
Reflection:Usually,when faced with a problem the methodology of how to solve it doesn’tcome to mind since I would most likely be focused on getting throughwith it. I realize that when I apply this, I end up with veryimpromptu decisions that offer extremes of consequences, whetherpositive or negative and my chances of choosing yet another invaliddecision are quite high because I don’t really put much thoughtinto it and would probably not revisit previous decisions when asimilar situation arises.
Learning:With the help of PrOACT model, I have learnt that I can work on mydecision making process so as to make logical decisions. Learning howto systematically make decisions on problems offers many perspectivesof looking into a problem which boosts confidence when choosingoptions as it ensures the best possible solution with reduceduncertainties and undesired risks. This lecture has empowered me withthe right knowledge and skill I need to make both future and presentdecisions for myself, family and career.
WEEKTHREE: MODELS OF DECISION MAKING PROCESS.
Description:Goinginto week three, we study the models of decision making process whichincludes thinking, rationality, logic, models of decision making andwhy people believe in things which do not appear realistic. Criticalthinking is rising what is subconsciously in an individual’s mindto the conscious. Rationality pegs one`s beliefs to their reasons tobelieve and is the kind of thinking that is based on judgment anddecision and is relative to a person depending on the situation.Logic is reasoning conducted and assessed according to strictprinciples of validity that is our knowledge of the degree of truthor falsity however, emotions play a role in affecting the decisionswe make. In the models of decision making: normative decision makingmodel which suggests that decision making is characterized by limited information processing at a time and that experience plays a rolein the process. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago model which is a decision making tree that enables a leader to examine a situation based on its nature, the decisions regarding it and the consequencesarising and therefore determine which style or level ofinvolvement to engage.
Reflection: Throughthe questioning of what the driving factor that made someone make acertain decision gives room to a wide scope of thought that in turnhelps in drawing inference not only from a single point of view butfrom a number of different views. Logic may seem as the decider interms of making a decision, but even so emotions or lack of them playa major role in this to the point of influencing our decision makingabilities. Rationality is influenced by the situation one is in andthe goals and beliefs that they have.
Learning:Through this I have learned that critical thinking is the contrary ofcontradicting others it is being able to see things from not onlyyour point of view, but others too and understand the reasoning andmotivation behind their line of thought and understanding. Indecision making, thinking, logic and rationality all add up to whatdrives us to make certain decisions, how we do since through thinkingcritically we come up with inferences and through rational theseinferences guide us in achieving our goals and through logic we areable to filter our thoughts or inferences based on their validity.One`s emotions play a major role in the decision making process,according to the research work of Damasio and Bechara (1996).
WEEKFOUR: PROBABILITY AND RISK.
Description:Inthis session, probability is said to be more of a personal judgmentabout an occurrence of a certain outcome according to (Lauriola andLevin, 2001). They argue that it is also very crucial in effectivedecision making since if one does not strongly believe that a certainevent or an undertaking will occur or succeed, then it’s hard tomake a decision under risk and uncertainty, one must be prepared tomake a profit or loss depending on the prevailing economic situationsand this calls for critical thinking before undertaking the risk inquestion. After undertaking the risk, one is uncertain or lacksknowledge, whether the outcome will be positive or negative and thusperseverance at this level of decision making is a principle becauseone can try many times until he/she attains the objectives.We looked into the types of risks which include, strategic risks which are  industrial  risks  that  arise from  competition in  a  speciﬁc industry,financial riskswhich are derived from potential losses in the ﬁnancial accounts,legal risks which is the extent  of  a  business` compliance  with all applicable.
Reflection:Ihave been in really tough situations when it comes to weighingprobabilities and risks with regard to problems. Sometimes there arejust too many solutions that look attractive but not all may beequally as advantageous. I have faced situations where I ended upmaking the wrong choices as a result of too many options and nostrategy to pick out the best among them. Most of the time, we takethe risk of making any decision without considering the implicationsof it and consent to endure whatever consequence it may come with,this can be dangerous.
Learning:I learnt that uncertainty  deals  with  possible outcomes  that  are unknown while risk  is a  certain  type  of  uncertainty involving  a  real probability  of  loss for  a  given  outcome. I have learnt that when amfaced with too many choices to make I should do a risk probabilityanalysis. I am also aware now that as many choices are good instandard economics and can ignore the less desirable choices becauseof the variety and also in the view that am satisfied by taking manygoods which would not be the case when I consume the same product allthrough (diminishing marginal utility). All in all, this sessionportrayed a good picture to me that big risk takers are always likelyto succeed in life.
WEEKFIVE: INTUITION AND EMOTIONS.
Description:Inthis week, the lecture focused on intuition and emotions, whereintuition is said to be unexplained feelings that one may have thatsomething is true even when there is no evidence or proof of it whileemotions are the feelings that can be caused by the situation thatyou are in or the people you are with. Examples of these feelings arelike happiness, love, fear, anger or hatred. We also looked into howemotions can affect the rationality in decision making through thesomatic marker hypothesis which attributes that patients withthe inability  to  make advantageous  decisions inlife to  a  defect  in  an  emotional mechanism that  rapidly  signals  the  prospective consequences  of  an action,  and accordingly  assists  in  the  selection of  an  advantageous response option.
Reflection:This topic revealed to me how I react to decisions when am emotional.I can relate that when angry, I am actually very destructive asanything around me would be reduced almost to nothing only to regretlater when I cool down. This could mean that anger is subjective tome hence drives me to perform an unpleasant behavior specific to thisemotion. When my decisions are not directly linked to my emotions, mydecisions tend to be a bit more constructive. Emotions can also beinfluenced by our beliefs changing people’s belief tends to changetheir emotions too which affect them in decision making.
Learning:Anauthor by the name Antonio Damasio did a research on whether peoplewith lesions in their brain are able to make critical decisions, hecalls this impairment as a somatic marker hypothesis which attributesto patients who have been affected in judgment and also emotion inreal life decision making, he found out that these people are normalbut cannot feel emotions though logic plays a pivotal role too. Ilearnt that some of the decisions we make are believed to beemotional but not logical. I learnt on the moral judgment thatdetermines whether something is right or wrong based on one’spersonal feeling depending on either belief or moral influence thathelps in decision making
WEEKSIX: HEURISTICS AND BIAS.
Description:Inweek six lecture, the class session was about heuristics which is amethod of personal learning that involves discovery of ideas andproblem solving in human beings and machines by using reasoning aswell as from experiences of the past so as to find a satisfactoryremedy. Hard tasks are minimized by assessing probabilities andpredicting values to simpler judgmental operation or physicalassessment of an object like distance or size by using clarity.According to Kahneman and Tversky (1974) “Judgment underuncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” They argue that there arevarious ways and ideas of problem solving to issues that occur whichcan be used by people in making decisions where you find thatdifferent probabilities are provided like a class been represented byan object, availability of ways that happen many times and adjustmentfrom an initial anchoring value. On the other hand, bias which is thetendency to prefer or favor one person or a thing as compared toanother. Das and Teng (1999) and Hogarth (1987) categorize generalbiases with its qualities that are necessary and natural parts of itwithin different decision making approaches like decision makers.
Reflection:While in discussion on this topic, I realized that I find it easierto make decisions on the choices that I have faced or experiencedbefore, not necessarily due to bias, but primarily due to knowledge Ihave on the risks and consequences of making that decision. I wouldrather go for more predictable options. This topic explains why thisis so and has given me a different perspective of approaching suchsituations.
Learning:Ihave learnt that in life, decisions are made depending on people’sbelief concerning the likelihood of uncertain events. The probabilityof a candidate to win an election on campus depends on various issueslike people are affiliated with, my manifesto to the students and myability and zeal to work for them. I can deduce that heuristic are alittle bit effective, but can result in a predictable, systematicerrors and biases that focus on decision without being concerned withthe beliefs or any conflicting information. Decision makers alsoreduce problems by putting different ideas together and rely onunexplained feelings that something is true even though they have noevidence. They also rely on subjective judgments other than rationalprobabilities that make the problems to be seen as unique.
WEEKSEVEN: GROUP DECISION MAKING.
Description:Inthis week, the sessions attended prioritized more on group decisionmaking and models, comparison between group and individual decisionmaking, merits and demerits of decision making, pressure toconformity of decision making and finally why people believe inthings that do not appear realistic. The most vital virtue for agroup to succeed in making a decision is working together as a teamin that at the end of the day, it’s clear that one would feel goodand equally important for a success of a decision he/she was part of.Myers, (2002) argued that none of us alone is as smart as all of ustogether in that when great minds are put together the decision madeis of the more essential compared to an individual and this provesthe saying that goes two heads are better than one.
Reflection:Ihave always dreaded being in groups because of the aspect of howdecisions are made and passed within a group, whether it is fordiscussion or scheduling, poor decision. I have always found theprocess slow since everyone’s view must be incorporated. However,even after consultations, implementing and conforming to thedecisions made is always a difficult task among the members andespecially those whose opinions were not incorporated. My experienceas a group leader also was less enjoyable than the time I was amember. The duty required patience, very high tolerance andunderstanding skills. Learning this topic has answered queries I hadfrom my experiences about why groups are hard to coordinate andrevealed more advantages to being in a group.
Learning:Forsuccess in decision making, I learnt that the team leader has to makesure that he/she informs the members to meet on time so as to givetheir input. The team leader then should gather the input made by theteam, which is rich in content and come up with an agreement about aparticular course of action for the decision to be strong.Consensus with a fallbackcan be a good way of settling on disputes in a group.Majority vote can be used as it is seen to be effective in decisionmaking models.Aftercomparing between group and individual decision making, I alsorealized that a group decision making has more merits in that outcomeof ideas are achieved by many minds. It also brings about better andinformed decisions. All in all a leader has to seek the opinion ofhis group members because their inputs are very important to theteam. Listening, patience and tolerance are important skills whenmaking decision.
Description:In this session, it was all about procrastination which is the act ofdelaying something. A Greek poet Hesiod said that “do not put yourwork off till tomorrow and the day after,” The Roman consul Cicerocalls procrastination hateful in the manner of affairs. In the topicwe looked into negativity and positivity of procrastination and itsrelation to time management and emotions. Procrastination is broughtout as a possible advantage in decision making as it allows more timeto critically think through matters.
Reflection:Ideally,some responsibilities in life are very critical and vital thanothers. When they are delayed or not met, serious problems may cropup like paying of household bills is a responsibility that I shouldnever delay. I have found myself in events of procrastinationseverally. This is dependent on the deadline periods, my moods andpossible responsibilities that I consider a greater priority. I havealso suffered consequences of procrastination, where I find myself invery stressful situations where there is pressure to get my workdone.
Learning:Research shows that people who delay have high levels of stress andlower their well-being. This brings us to the negative side ofprocrastination which shows that it occurs as a result of lack ofenough money. Tice and Baumeister (1997) carried out an experimentwith college students and saw the costs of procrastination outweighedbenefits as they earned lower grades and had a lot of stress andillness. Also, Ice and Ferrari (2000) said that procrastination isself-defeating behaviors where procrastinators undermine their ownbest efforts. I can therefore deduce that procrastination can also bean advantage, especially in decision-making when it is helped bytime, thus when you delay a decision until the last moment it can beviewed as the best policy.
WEEKNINE: UNDERSTANDING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN DECISIONMAKING.
Description:Onthis week, the lecture focused on understanding mental healthproblems in decision making. Decision-making entails the mentalfunctioning of a person, and so mental health plays a great role.Patients with different mental health problems are not able to make aconcrete decision, this is argued out by Antonio Damasio et al (2005)in his book TheSomatic Marker Hypothesiswho focused on people with mental damage where emotions are concludedthat even though these patients seem normal, and they are not able tofeel emotions thus could not make decisions, whereas Bechara et al(1998) also studied patients with somatic marker hypothesis wherethey have ventromedial lesions in their brain, which he said thatthey are not sensitive to future results and are guided by immediateprospects.
Reflection:Prior to this topic, I was aware of the disadvantage of poor health,not necessarily mental, in the making of appropriate decisions. I amof the view that such patients who have mental health problems shouldgo through programs frequently, which would assist them to restoretheir normal functioning. It helps individual patients like those whosuffer from stroke to go through training of skills and practice,hence helping them to increase their self-awareness and try to effecton the skills to correct the problem they are going through.
Learning:Rehabilitation therapy programs are recommended to assist to restorenormal functioning. I have learnt that through therapy the patientsare corrected back to their normal functioning and thus able tocoordinate their speech and movement of body parts. Unfortunately, atthis juncture these patients still cannot make any decisionswhatsoever on any issue until the time they are fully recovered. Asexpressed from the medical staff point of view, I learnt thatproblems with high risks require little time to make decisionsconcerning them and that variable risks as well require more time.
WEEKTEN: DECISION AIDING.
Description: Inweek ten, we are sensitized on decision aiding. Yates and Angott(2012) define decision aids as procedures or devices that areintended to improve the quality of people’s decisions. Theybasically ensure that the individual is on the right track as theyapproach the actual making of decisions. These are interventions forreducing affective arousal, which uses techniques for loweringfeelings of anxiety and guilt, intervention for defining the problemwhich involves clarifying theproblem to the individual and intervention forinculcating the decision-making paradigm which is toreinforce an attitude of personal responsibility inan individual to encourage taking action on their decisions.
Reflection:I learnt that I have to identify the problem that I succumb to so asto make the correct decision. My objective is to understand what issupposed to be achieved when the decision is arrived at. Alternativesare the possible solutions to the identified problem. Consequencesare the results that may arise as a result of each possible solution.This procedure will lead me into making a good decision.Itis therefore important that I should be aware of my emotions beforemaking a decision and avoid procrastination, even though a delayeddecision termed as best it should not take too much time.
Learning:By use of these tools I was able to arrive at a good and sounddecision that a counselor is very helpful in making decisions becauseof the guidance he/she provides. I now understand that trade-off isidentifying the best solution. I am also well aware now thatinformation is key in decision making, thus I should be well informedabout the problem, alternatives and consequences of the decision.
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