Description:In week two lecture, a module known as PrOACT used in decision makingas proposed by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney and Howard Raiffa wasfocused on. It simply stands for Problems, Objectives, Alternative,Consequences and Take-offs.As stated by Hammondet al (1999). PrOACT is a systemic stage of decision making modulethat individuals could observe and adopt whilst making decisions.Thisinvolves how decisions are made, based on the current problem. Heobserves that objectives represent the reflectivity of desired goalsand demonstrate that the desired outcome of intended objective shouldshape both individuals’ personal interest and decisions.Consequences, as one of the PrOACT model stage demonstrate howindividuals understand the aftermath of their actions which could bepositive or negative. Once this is done one could also consider takeoff which is the last stage of PrOACT decision making models. This ismore or less like making alternative forgone decision because itgives room for individuals to give priority to decisions according totheir importance in our lives.
Reflection:Inthis case, I realized that when am faced with a problem then I shouldobjectively look for a remedy as this may affect me later. Forexample if am very sick, bed ridden but have to do my final exam nomatter what, the solutions that may come up in my mind are either todo away with the exam for now and do the supplementary exam thefollowing year or do exam the way I am knowing well the possibilityof passing are slim. Either of the choices have consequences eitherpositive or negative or on the other end look for an alternative thatwill help me make a good decision on the priorities available.
Learning:With the help of PrOACT model I have been able to make logicaldecisions in life and have been able to share this new knowledge Iacquired with my friends which they all appreciate. For example beenable to let go of uncertainties for certainties, also makealternative decision and logically consider the consequences of eachdecisions and choose the best decision which would be helpful for me.This lecture has empowered me with the right knowledge and skill Ineed to make both future and present decisions for myself, family andcareer.
WEEKTHREE:MODELSOF DECISION MAKING PROCESS.
Description:Inthis week lecture, the topics on models of decision making processincludes thinking, rationality, logic, models of decision making andwhy people do not believe in things which do not appear real.Critical thinking is analysing and evaluating a persons reasoning soas to make it clear or open thus forming a judgement. Great teamleaders are good critical thinkers as they understand procedures andreasoning hence able to cope with unconscious influences thatcontribute and affect decision making process.
Reflection:EverytimeI interact with a critical thinker, I find out that they questionmore often their own and other people’s assumptions, causes,motivation and attitude. They believe they know much about a certainissue and critique it, provided they focus on their reasoning andperspective. When I ask them a question they do not answer but tendto ask more questions instead as a way of answering. Example, shouldI play baseball this summer? You will realize that this thought wouldstart with a doubt and possible answers to the question will eithercome from inside or outside oneself as you evaluate the possibilitiesof achieving some goals.
Learning:Thoughtsthat assist in achieving one’s objective are known as rationalitysince good decision making involves enough search for possibilities,evidence and objectives. Rational thinking can thus be said to berelative to a person at a given time with a given set of beliefs andgoals. Rational decisions are based on reason rather than emotions.Vroom-Yetton-Jago provides a model that enable leaders to examinesituations they face and be able to focus on the level of involvementin decision making. On the other hand, normative decision making ischaracterized by limited information processing where there is aboundary on how much information a person can manage so that one canmake judgement based on earlier one to fasten the decision makingprocess. When I make a statement then it must be logical in that thereasoning carried out must be percieved to be true and aligned tostrict principles of validity. Nickerson (1986) argued that nothingis better than eternal happiness. The evidence of this argument isbased on our own knowledge of truth or inaccuracy of thesestatements. The question I ask myself is whether decision making isemotional or logical since when I focus on Antonio Damasio research,he argues that people with damage in the brain where emotions aregenerated seem normal except that are not able to feel emotions thuscannot make decisions. Wim De Neys has a new suggestion that thinkingabout logic is true only that you have no evidence about it thus,when having a conflict part of the brain that deals with conflict isactive.
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 principle becauseone can try many times until he/she attains the objectives.
Reflection:Idiscovered that when am faced with too many choices to make in whatis called paradox of choice then I should be thinking of a solution,as many choices are good in standard economics and can ignore theless desirable choices because of the variety and also in the viewthat am satisfied by taking many goods which would not be the casewhen I consume the same product all through (diminishing marginalutility).
Learning:However,as much as I thought paradox of choice is good, there could beproblems with excessive choice as decision making could be paralyzedand also choice of satisfaction may go down. 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 are said to be unexplained feelings that one may have thatsomething is true even when there is no evidence or proof of it. Onthe other hand emotions is the feeling that can be caused by thesituation that you are in or the people you are with. Example ofthese feelings are like happiness, love, fear, anger or hatred.
Reflection:I came to know how I react when am emotional. Example when angry amactually very destructive as anything around me would be reducedalmost to nothing only to regret later when I cool down. This meansthat anger is subjective in me hence drives me to perform unpleasantbehaviour specific to this emotion. Different emotions like fear,regret, joy, pride, anger and sadness differ from one person toanother. Emotions can also be influenced by our beliefs like smokingwhich is believed it influences stress and causes stigma. Changingpeoples belief tend to change their emotions too which affect them indecision making.
Learning:Someof the decisions we make are believed to be emotional but notlogical. An author by the name Antonio Damasio did a research onwhether people who have lesions on their brain are able to makecritical decisions, he calls this impairment as somatic markerhypothesis which attributes to patients been affected in judgementand also emotional in real life decision making, he found out thatthese people are normal but cannot feel emotions though logic plays apivotial role too. My interest in this lecture was more on the lastbit of moral judgement that determines whether something is right orwrong based on one’s personal feeling depending on either belief ormoral influence that helps in decision making. Jury also plays apivotial role in law through the way they analyze and scrutinize theevidence then interprete so as to make a concrete decision.
WEEKSIX: HEURISTICS AND BIAS.
Description:Inweek six lecture, the students were enthusiastic to learn more aboutheuristics which is a method of personal learning that involvesdiscovery of ideas and problem solving in humanbeings and machines byusing reasoning as well as experiences of the past so as to find asatisfactory remedy. Hard tasks are minimized by assesingprobabilities and predicting values to simpler judgemental operationor physical assesment of an object like distance or size by usingclarity. According to Kahnemanand Tversky(1974) “Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics andBiases.” They argue that there are various ways and ideas ofproblem solving to issues that occur which can be used by people inmaking decisions where you find that different probabilities areprovided like a class been represented by an object, availability ofways that happen many times and adjustment from an innitial anchoringvalue. On the other hand, bias which is the tendency to prefer orfavour one person or a thing as compared to another. Das and Teng(1999) and Hogarth (1987) categorizes general biases with itsqualities that are necessary and natural parts of it within differentdecision making approaches like decision makers.
Reflection:Ihave learnt that in life, decisions are made depending on people’sbelief concerning the likelihood of uncertain events. For example,the probability of I as a candidate to win an election in campusdepends on various issues like people am affiliated to, my manifestoto the students and my ability and zeal to work for them. This willenable the students to make a critical decision in choosing me astheir representative and agitate for their rights within the campus.
Learning:Ican deduce that heuristic are a little bit effective but can resultto a predictable, systematic errors and biases that focus on decisionwithout being concerned on the beliefs or any conflictinginformation. Decision makers also reduce problems by puttingdifferent ideas together and rely on unexplained feelings thatsomething is true even though they have no evidence. They also relyon subjective judgements other than rational probabilities that makethe problems to be seen as unique. Finally, decision makers tend tobe more than positive on issues and overestimate their level ofcontrol to manage and correct decisions that are made.
WEEKSEVEN: GROUP DECISION MAKING. Description: Inthis week, the sessions attended prioritised 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 real. The most vital virtue for a group tosucceed in making a decision is working together as a team in that atthe end of the day its clear that one would feel good and equallyimportant 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 us togetherin that when great minds are put together the decision made is ofmore essential compared to an individual and this prooves the sayingthat goes two heads are better than one.
Reflection:I analyzed two types of groups. First, a group leader who makescertain decisions on behalf of the team without consulting them. Heinforms the group about his/her decision and expects it be carriedout with immediate effect without them questioning his/her decision.In this context, the leader has unknowingly killed the members’self-esteem and confidence. Anothergroup I examined was very interactive because the group leaderallowed each group member to come up with different decisions in thathe involved them in decision making process. The group leaderlistened to each decision suggested by his/her group members and atthe end of the discussion I critically made an assessment on thedecisions made and selected the best decision which would beimplemented. Interactively, it shows such a leader appreciates theinput of each of his group member. Regarding conformity, it is clearthat some people accept ideas of majority to be acceptable in agroup, although theirs might appear to be better. In my perspectiveI think such people do conform to other people’s ideas due to lackself-esteem and confidence.
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. The group has to make unanimousagreement on decision made by each member believed to be strong andwell supported. On the other hand the team leader should delegate adecision to the team and this helps them to share the responsibilityfor decisions as it enhances time saving. Finally majority vote canbe used as it is seen to be effective in decision making models.Aftercomparing between group and individual decision making, I alsorealized that group decision making has more merits in that outcomesof 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 the teamand some of them might be very creative and innovative when it comesto decision making. He must have skills like listening, patience andtolerance when making 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. For examplewhen you delay to pay school fees it means that you hate education.
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. Water is life this implies that I should pay waterbills promptly and on time as well as electricity bills. Even thoughthese are some of the important responsibilities in life, it iscommon to find that I have foregone to pay and instead bought a newpair of shoes thus I need to understand that there is a differencebetween basic necessities and wants. Necessities should be met firstbefore going to wants.
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. Procrastinators earned lower grades and had a lot of stressand illness. Also, Ice and Ferrari (2000) said that procrastinationis self-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 by time,thus when you delay a decision until the last moment it can be viewedas the best policy. This teaches me that decisions for most difficultsituations should take adequate time before they are arrived at.
WEEKNINE: UNDERSTANDING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN DECISIONMAKING.
Description:Inthis 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, where as Bechara et al(1998) also studied patients with somatic marker hypothesis wherethey have vetromedial lesions in their brain which he said that theyare not sensitive to future results and are guided by immediateprospects.
Reflection:When faced with mental health problems, rehabilitation therapyprograms are recommended frequently which would assist to restorenormal functioning. It helps individual patients like those whosuffer stroke to go through training of skills and practice hencehelping them to increase their self awareness and try to effect onthe skills to correct the problem they are going through. Therapyhelps to correct back normal functioning and thus able to co-ordinatespeech and movement of body parts. Unfortunately, if am the one insuch a situation then still cannot make any decisions whatsoever onany issue until the time they are fully recovered.
Learning:As expressed 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, decision aiding which comes after making a decision wascovered. For one to make a good decision some guidelines have to befollowed. First, be a critical thinker. Critical thinkers questiontheir own assumptions and reasons as well as those of others. They donot confuse others while asking those questions but aim at gainingmore knowledge. It is this knowledge they use to help make a sounddecision. Secondly, the decision should be proactive this is from theacronym PrOACT. Yates and Angott (2012) define decision aids asprocedures or devices that are intended to improve the quality ofpeople’s decisions. They include interventions for reducingaffective arousal. These are techniques for lowering feelings ofanxiety and guilt in a person.
Reflection:I have to identify the problem that mostly I succumb in so as to makethe correct decision. My objective is to understand what is supposedto be achieved when the decision is arrived at. Alternatives are thepossible solutions to the identified problem. Consequences are theresults that may arise as a result of each possible solution.Trade-off is identifying the best solution. This procedure will leadme 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 should not take too much time. Information iskey in decision making, thus I should be well informed about theproblem, alternatives and consequences of the decision.
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.
Inconclusion, decision making is a process that is crucial to humanlife because it determines the outcome of what one choose toundertake in life and plays a pivotal role in shaping up a person’slife in that he/she bears the consequences from the decisions made.
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