Problem Solving and Decision Making Essay

Question 1
Part a
A problem is any circumstance whose current state is different from the desired state. In principle, it is a situation where what is happening is not what is sought, and the higher the discrepancy between the wanted state and the existing state, the more significant the problem.

Part b
Decision making entails choosing what to do out of two or more options. Most situations often require individuals to weigh among numerous possibilities before selecting the best one based on a tradeoff between the advantages and disadvantages identified.

Part c
Scientific decision-making can be defined as the use of the scientific method in the decision-making process. The scientific method entails the systematic observation, investigation, measurement, and conceptualization, empirical testing, and adjusting of hypotheses. Usage of the scientific method in decision-making ensures that manager pick the best alternatives.

Part d
Complexity in scientific decision-making is phenomena introduced when changes to the current situation occurs without utilizing the scientific approach. Different types of scientific complexity exist, including breakdowns and delays, variations, imperfections and errors, and inefficiency. These complexities can be avoided by adhering to scientific decision making.

Part e
Information is processed data formatted conveniently for decision-making. A pertinent example of data is students’ marks and information produced from there will be pie charts, mean grades, top marks among others. Information cannot guarantee good decisions but lack of information ensures bad decisions.

Part f
A management information system (MIS) consists of a system that gathers data, converts it into information, and presents it conveniently for leaders to make decisions. An MIS typically comprises computer hardware, software, and people. Firstly, the hardware consists of all the tangible parts of the computer. Secondly, software refers to the instructions that process data into information. Finally, people are the users who run, maintain, and manage the system. It is important for managers to setup their MIS not to produce overwhelming amounts of information to avoid information overload.

Part g
Creativity is a forward-thinking, inventive, and original way of problem-solving.

Question 2
The PDCA cycle comprises four distinct parts, each with its own subdivisions of procedural problem-solving undertakings. The first phase, plan, happens before problem-solving. It includes problem definition, information collection, root cause identification, possible solutions development, and best option selection. In the second step, do, the chosen solution is executed. In the next phase, check, the solution implementation process is observed, and data is collected and analyzed to determine whether the problem is solved. Finally, the last step, adjust, occurs when the previous step shows that the issue under investigation was not resolved. This process can be repeated until the problem is completely eliminated. However, after numerous cycles without finding a solution, the initial problem should be reexamined. Here adjustments are made to the implemented solution to enhance its outcomes. The PDCA technique is just as useful at solving existing failures as it is at finding and eliminating potential problems. Therefore, individuals utilizing the PDCA cycle must follow the steps it entails chronologically since each former one determines the actions to be taken in the latter.

Question 3
The Toyota problem-solving process comprises seven steps. The first one entails recognizing the original problem, although it does not have to be clearly defined. In the second step, the issue is clarified. Seven sub steps are observed under problem clarification. Firstly, the situation is approached unbiasedly, followed by comparing the current circumstances to the standard procedure, and then looking for discrepancies. If none are found, the second sub step is redone. In the third sub step, a deeper dive is done to determine if there are multiple variances. Next, if multiple variances exist, they are given priority based on their severity and finally a desired state is formulated (the goal state to be reached by correcting the discrepancies). In the third step, the geographical location of the problem’s cause is determined. After that, the problem’s principal causal agent is established by employing the five-why analysis. The five-why analysis entails asking why there exists the found discrepancy, and then ask why on the answer given on the first question. This goes on recursively until a root cause is found (the why’s don’t have to stop at five). Afterward, a solution is developed with care being taken to avoid introducing a new problem. If there are multiple solutions available, the most advantageous countermeasure is chosen. In the sixth step, the chosen solution’s effectiveness is monitored and assessed against the problem. In this phase, evaluation is done before and after the countermeasure is carried out after which the situation is tracked. Additionally, a consensus on the effectiveness of the solution should be achieved. Finally, the standard is updated to reflect the solution. Overall, the Toyota problem-solving process is stepwise that uses the cause approach to aid in problem resolution.

Question 4
The decision-making model is a series of logically arranged activities that lead to the selection of the best alternative. Although several decision-making models exist, all of them follow the same blueprint, which entails recognizing the problem, collecting information, deliberating on available choices, selecting the most advantageous choice, execute it, and finally observing and adjusting if necessary. For decisions to be made objectively, managers need to have a decision-making model that adhere to this pattern.

Question 5
Information overload causes frustration, confusion, the failure to be attentive to crucial information, too much time spent on insignificant data, and avoidable and unrewarding delays.

Question 6
The creative process is a set of sequential steps meant to foster creative decision making that can be learned. These steps constitute preparation, incubation, insight, and verification. Although some people are more predisposed to creative thinking than others, anyone can still achieve creativity through learning. Various approaches can be utilized to think more creatively. The first and most significant among them is idea vending, which entails finding ideas contained in the relevant field’s literature and regularly distributing them to the target group of people to get them thinking. The second most notable one is listening, a strategy that is based on the fact that poor listening is one of the factors that prevents good ideas from being identified. Consequently, managers should listen to both good and bad ideas to encourage creative thinking. Additionally, they should listen to problems raised by employees as great ideas can arise from talking about the issues. Finally, idea attribution is another salient strategy where a leader boosts creativity by availing parts of ideas to the target group and allowing them to complete them fully. Full recognition and attribution are then given to the individual who develops a creative idea for his or her efforts. This strategy needs patience and persistence to work as it takes a long time to show results. Overall, while creativity comes naturally to some people, those who lack it can make efforts to improve their creative processes.
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