Business Decision Making and Analysis

Aims of this Unit

The decisions made in organisations at both strategic and operational levels can have significant implications for success or failure, reputation and morale. For many organisations, little thought is given to the nature of decision-making – the complexity of decisions, the inherent biases of decision-makers, the validity of inputs used to inform decisions, agreed decision-making processes and support systems, when and how to involve stakeholders, responsibilities of participants and the effective communication of decision-making outcomes.

This unit aims to address these issues by developing awareness and competency in making thorough, insightful, effective, creative and ethical strategic and key operational decisions in line with organisational resources and capabilities.

Knowledge and Understanding

This unit is designed to provide students with an understanding of:
• The decision-making environment
  - quantitative, qualitative, rational, intuitive and ethical decision-making approaches
  - modelling, forecasting and scenario planning approaches
  - decision making processes, phases of the process
  - probability, uncertainty and their influence on decision handling and outcomes
  - political, resource limitation, human bias and other decision modifiers
• Decision making activities
  - using ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ approaches to identify and define problems or opportunities
  - identifying stakeholders and the impacts of decisions on them
  - consultation techniques for problem/opportunity exploration and clarification
  - techniques for handling risk and uncertainty
  - managing time, information and differing personal perspectives and worldviews
  - analysis, selection and communication of decision outcomes
  - factors contributing to a ‘wise’ choice; the creative decision-making group
• Implementing decisions
  - persuasive communication of decision outcomes
  - managing the aftermath of decision making, enabling change or strengthening the status quo

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this course, participants should be able to:
1. Describe the key phases of strategic and operational decision-making processes and assess the effectiveness of decision-making within an organisation
2. Identify and apply appropriate rational, quantitative, qualitative, intuitive and creative approaches to making ethical strategic decisions
3. Recognise the different forms of bias that can inhibit effective decision-making and ways that they may be overcome
4. Act independently or collaboratively as a member of a decision-making group in the process of making business decisions
5. Apply a systems or holistic perspective to the development and implementation of business decisions within an organisation
6. Demonstrate a high order of skill in analysis, critical thinking, communication and professional application
7. Demonstrate creativity and flexibility in the application of knowledge and skills to new situations, to resolve problems and to think rigorously and independently

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