The Role of Opinions in Decision-making

Decision-making and Valuation


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Decision-making and Valuation > Best Practices > The Role of Opinions in Decision-making

The Role of Opinions in Decision-making
M Y Zainudeen, Management Consultant, Sri Lanka, Member
Opinions play a major role in decision making in the absence of sufficient management information and lack of analytic skills.
Although modern management tools emphasize that management information is very important in rational decision making, such decision making is not always possible.
There are instances where decision making is purely based on opinions held by the decision maker. Because on one hand analyzing management information takes a long time, and on the other hand the situation demands a quick decision.
There are occasions in which a serious turn of opinion takes place with a sudden inflow of new information and knowledge. This is possible only for people who spend quite a lot of time in thinking about the subject matter involved, and are looking for new knowledge.

Decision-making When There is no Enough Time to Analyze Management Information
Fr. Edgar Calunod, SVD, Student (University), Philippines, Member
I do believe in "opinions", but I would like to emphasize "opinions of many heads".
There is nobody who holds absolute and correct opinions.
I do further believe in experience-based opinions. I agree that sometimes analyzing management information takes a long time, and there are decisions that have to be made immediately.

Opinions Play a Major Role in Decision Making
Kathi Deavers, United States, Member
Opinions play a major role in all the choices we make in life, both personal and professional. Our opinions are a reflection of our morals, our ethics, our experiences, and our environment and will differ from region to region and culture to culture.
Right or wrong, if a manager must make a quick judgement call, then I would hope he would base his decision on how it would affect the whole over a few individuals.
We all make poor choices. Typically this is not done on purpose. One cannot expect perfection in an imperfect world but one can always learn from the obstacles that confront us.
Even poor choices can be used as a learning tool with the right mindset.

The Plus, Minus, Interesting Tool by De Bono
Bernd Born, Manager, Germany, Member
First I think opinions are based on our experience.
Second I made good progress with the Plus, Minus, Interesting tool from De Bono (PMI). Using this method any problem, issue, or area of interest can be analysed quickly and effectively by drwaing up 3 columns on a pice of paper and heading them 'Plus', 'Minus', and 'Interesting':
In the column underneath Plus, enter all of the possible positive results of taking the action.
Beneath Minus, write all the possible negative effects.
In the Interesting column, enter the implications and possible outcomes of taking the action, whether positive, negative, or uncertain.
After doing this you can optionally assign a (positive or negative) score to each point in each column.
Once you have done this, add up the scores. A strongly positive score shows that an action should be taken, a strongly negative score that it should be avoided.
Third from my view it is important to have a short time between the first idea how to decide and the final decision (5 minutes at least) because the risks are that the underlying facts have a gap.

Opinions in Decision-making: The Opinion Ball
M Y Zainudeen, Management Consultant, Sri Lanka, Member
@Kathi Deavers : I agree that opinions are mostly based on our experience and our beliefs, religion, culture, politics and social environment also have a great impact on our opinions. Whoever the professional, it is very difficult to use only experience based opinions whereas our entire 'opinion ball' is a mixture of all of the above causes and this ball of opinion is eternally scrolling, adding new info too.
Therefore a manager has to pay special attention to his opinion ball when making a decision in order to make sure that he/she is not biased towards any corner, but justified to a greater extent possible, as achieving perfection is impossible.

Questions When Using Other People's Opinions in Decision Making
rilwan, Management Consultant, Nigeria, Member
The extent to which opinions by other people are allowed in decision making depends on the style of management. A consultative management style would allow more for opinions than other styles.
When we are giving room for opinions, we should ask ourselves certain questions:
1. Does the individual whose opinion is being sought from has experience over the subject matter?
2. Is the individual aware of the purpose and outcome of his decision?

Using Opinions by Other People in Decision Making
Mansur Ikhlas, Director, United Arab Emirates, Member
Opinions are complicated element and influenced by many factors as mentioned in above messages. One of the main influences is also the relationship with the one who opinionated and the level of your trust on him.
Understanding the above, it's the manager's job to filter the right information and use his/her judgment to use opinions as one of the parameters among others to decide.

Problems with Decision Maker's Own Opinions
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Even when there is plenty of superb management information available, and even if lots of excellent opinions have been shared by other people, then still the final decision maker is influenced by all kinds of distortions and malfunctions of her/his own brain.
See the topics 'cognitive bias' and 'bounded rationality' to see the amazing number of ways in which our brain can fool us when we believe we make a rational decision.

Personal Attributes in Decision Making
M Y Zainudeen, Management Consultant, Sri Lanka, Member
I fully agree with you comment Jaap. All what we discuss is about decision making under normal conditions of the brain functionality of the decision maker. If the decision maker's brain functionality is not rational and normal, his decision could be a disaster.
Usually a decision maker is categorised as having impartial skills rational thinking and a balanced mind against internal and external influences. If he fails to maintain this status quo, his decisions could be fooled by his own internal influences.

We Decide not So Rational as we Think we Do
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@M Y Zainudeen: OK, but be very careful to assume that under normal circumstances a normal decision maker thinks and decides rational.
Our brain is far less reliable than it makes us believe:-).

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