A decision’s potential effectiveness can be assessed by two criteria: (1) the quality of the decision and (2) the acceptance by those who must implement it.
1. The quality of the decision.
If expertise is required to make the decision, then it is a high quality problem. High quality problems tend to involve technical details.
For example, the selection of evidence that would be admissible in court requires legal expertise. This would, therefore, be a high quality problem.
If the manager has all of the knowledge and skills required, the manager can work alone to effectively solve high quality problems. However, if the manager does not have sufficient expertise, that manager will need to rely on the input of others who have the necessary expertise.
A low quality problem means that a particular expertise is not necessary to make the decision.
For example, it does not require any particular expertise to select a specific brand of copy paper for the copy machine. As a result, this would be a low quality decision.
2. The acceptance of the decision.
Acceptance is necessary for the effective implementation of a decision. When individuals are unlikely to support or implement a decision if they are not involved in making the decision, then it is a high acceptance problem. High acceptance problems often involve the working conditions of staff.
For example, the decision regarding how to handle a workload reduction problem requires staff acceptance and cooperation in order to ensure adequate implementation. As a result, this would be considered a high acceptance problem.
High acceptance problems can best be addressed by involving the affected parties in the problem solving/decision making process. Unless they feel they have had some input into the decision, they are less likely to accept it or cooperate in its implementation.
A low acceptance problem means that acceptance of the decision will not be an issue. Either the decision is considered insignificant, or the group affected by the decision is confident that the decision maker has the specific expertise necessary to make the decision.
For example, the decision to buy a round or square cake for a staff party would hopefully be considered insignificant, or a low acceptance problem. In other words, staff would accept either cake shape without fuss.
It would also be a low acceptance problem if a well-respected doctor was deciding whether to make a vertical or horizontal incision during a complex operation. The attending medical staff already accept the doctor’s expertise to make this decision independently, so gaining their acceptance is not an issue.
In selecting the most appropriate decision making style, a manager must ask the following questions:
1. Does the problem require expertise to solve? In other words, is this a high or low quality problem?
2. If so, if this is a high quality problem, do I have the necessary expertise to solve it?
If the answer is “no,” then the manager must involve others with the necessary expertise in the decision making process.
If the answer is “yes,” then the manager must answer the next question:
3. If I make the decision by myself, is it reasonably certain that it would be accepted by the affected parties? In other words, is this a high or low acceptance problem?
If the answer is “yes,” then this is a low acceptance problem and the manager can make the decision independently, without the input or participation of others.
If the answer is “no,” then this is a high acceptance problem and the manager
should involve the affected parties in some part of the problem solving/
decision making process.
Considering whether a problem is high quality and/or high acceptance can assist a manager to make a decision that is more likely to be effective and implemented.