Thursday, 7 April 2016

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: HR and The Decision Making Process

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: HR and The Decision Making Process
Alyzae Feroze, MPS 
04/06/2016

How to cut costs, what training methods are most effective, and who should we hire? These are all examples of decisions that HR teams have to make on a regular basis. But how to do we arrive at these decisions and what is the best way about it? An effective decision making process is extremely important in the human resources field because it helps push the company towards it’s goals in compliance with it’s core values and as result creates a seat at the table for HR to be viewed as a strategic business partner. Effective communication can enhance this process and offer ways is in which larger amounts of information can be used in order to make the most satisfying decision. This can be achieved by identifying and adhering to the decision making process, incorporating different decision making styles, and finally taking time out to provide feedback. 

            Before embarking on the journey to solve any problem or task that requires a firm and comprehensive decision, it is essential that the team be well aware of the decision making process. Organization is usually half the battle and having formal procedures that organize the decision-making process can maximize the amount of information available. Instead of “shooting in the dark” all team members can be on the same page at the same time. For example, a typical Mintzberg decision-making process consists of three phases; the first phase is called identification and it requires recognition and diagnosis. At this stage team members can formally and systematically discuss the situation at hand and brainstorm ideas. The next stage is development, where team members search and design a plan of action. This stage can also include many forms of communication such as verbal, non-verbal, and interpersonal. The last stage is called selection, this were the group judges, analyzes, bargains, and authorizes the decision. This method usually increases the amount of information available because it allows for a systematic and uniformed process rather than a dodgy and unorganized approach that can commonly occur.

            Another method that can generate lager amounts of information is the incorporation of different decision-making styles, having people on the same team that can incorporate a variety of different approaches to the decision making process will only enhance the amount of information available to the team. For example, having someone with a directive style on the team will eliminate a lot of ambiguity and make sure that all tasks are completed in an efficient, logical, and pragmatic way. An analytic team member is likely to analyze each and every detail, they may take their time but they do a thorough job. The conceptual team members are great for increasing the amount of information available because they tend consider many different possibilities and discuss options with as many people as possible before coming to a conclusion. Finally, the behavior style employees on the team are great with interpersonal skills; they are receptive to ideas, supportive, warm, and avoid conflict.  This method will generally increase information available to the tam because the group is not relying on style alone, instead they must consider all different approaches and styles and this will in turn broaden their horizons.

            The final method that can generate larger amounts of information is the feedback process after the decision is made.  It is essential to always reflect and analyze as group what went wrong, what went right, and what they would do differently next time. This practice will increase the knowledge base of the group so the next time around they will each be more informed than the last time and better equipped to make satisfying decisions.  A few tips in the feed back process are intension; it should always be toward improvement rather than putting someone down. Specificity helps avoid ambiguity and frustration when the problem isn’t fully understood. Descriptive feedback is better than evaluative because it describes what the employees have done in an objective way rather than in a judgmental way. Finally, feedback should be clear in order to be effective and fully understood by recipients. This method ordinarily increases the amount of information available to the team because it gives them a chance to process and reflect upon shortcomings.

What is your style of decision-making as an HR or OD professional?


1.     Luthans, F. (2011). Introduction to organizational behavior. In Organizational Behavior (12th ed., pp. 13-15). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.