We all make decisions of varying importance every day, so the idea that decision making can be a rather sophisticated art may at first seem strange. However, studies have shown that most people are much poorer at decision making than they think. An understanding of what decision making involves, will help to produce better decisions.
Every decision is made within a decision environment, which is defined as the collection of information, alternatives, values, and preferences available at the time of the decision. An ideal decision environment would include all possible information, all of it accurate, and every possible alternative. However, both information and alternatives are constrained because the time and effort to gain information or identify alternatives are limited.
The time constraint simply means that a decision must be made by a certain time. The effort constraint reflects the limits of manpower, money, and priorities. Since decisions must be made within this constrained environment, we can say that the major challenge of decision making is uncertainty, and a major goal of decision analysis is to reduce uncertainty. We can almost never have all information needed to make a decision with certainty, so most decisions involve an undeniable amount of risk.
The Effects of Quantity on Decision Making
Many decision makers have a tendency to seek more information than required to make a good decision. When too much information is sought and obtained, one or more of several problems can arise. A delay in the decision occurs because of the time required to obtain and process the extra information. This delay could impair the effectiveness of the decision or solution. Information overload will occur. In this state, so much information is available that decision-making ability actually declines because the information in its entirety can no longer be managed or assessed appropriately. A major problem caused by information overload is forgetfulness. When too much information is taken into memory, especially in a short period of time, some of the information will be pushed out.
The quantity of information that can be processed by the human mind is limited. Unless information is consciously selected, processing will be biased toward the first part of the information received. After that, the mind tires and begins to ignore subsequent information or forget earlier information.
Another way to describe this situation is to say that most decisions involve a choice from a group of pre selected alternatives, made available to us from the universe of alternatives by the previous decisions we have made. Previous decisions have “activated” or “made operable” certain alternatives and “deactivated” or “made inoperable” others.
For example, when you enter a store to buy a DVD player or TV, you are faced with the pre selected alternatives stocked by the store. There may be 200 models available in the universe of models, but you will be choosing from, say, only a dozen. In this case, your decision has been constrained by the decisions made by others about which models to carry.
That is why this decision making is crucial in career selection and development; it can make or mar the future of a youngster. It has to be an intelligent and informed decision, and it is here that aptitude tests could prove useful. Aptitude tests enable students to identify their potential and tap it for career development.
An important factor in career development is its right choice. It can be called the most important step because if one chooses the wrong career, one is bound to experience severe difficulties in his life both at the intellectual as well as the emotional level. So, there is a need to recognize and understand the reasons that lead to such a dilemma.
Certain factors are listed below that contribute to wrong career- decisions in a major way:
1) LACK OF INFORMATION: This is a major hurdle in going for a right career. Aspirants, especially from small towns, have an incomplete and warped picture of what is going on in the present modern age. They don’t know completely the nature and real time status of the career they are desirous of joining. This leads to expectations which become a source of agony for them in future.
2) LACK OF WILLINGNESS: It has happened many a time that a suitable candidate has lost a good job only because of unwillingness on his part. For example, quite a lot of candidates are averse to those jobs that require extensive field work. They just can’t bring themselves round to the idea of working in such an environment. This type of willingness can be natural as well as induced.
3) LACK OF MOTIVATION AND GUIDANCE: It is human nature that many a time persons need to be stimulated to do something that otherwise they are supremely capable of doing. This motivation becomes a strong factor in career choice and development also. A person who declined the job of a team leader in a multinational company simply because he was shy natured, he preferred to mind his own business. Had he been properly motivated and guided, he surely would have won laurels for himself as well as his family.
It has been seen that difficulties in career-related choice differ from country to country. Aspirants in developed countries face fewer problems as compared to their counterparts in developing or underdeveloped countries. The difference can be attributed to the above mentioned factors. It can be said in a nutshell that people in developed countries have more exposure as well as have better access to proper guidance and counseling.