We make decisions every day in our lives. Whether it’s picking a restaurant to dine in or winding down with a Netflix movie, you’re constantly choosing from alternatives. At its simplest, decision-making refers to the process of making a choice between two or more courses of action. In the context of problem-solving, making decisions helps you choose a possible solution.

Effective decision-making is an integral part of modern management. Managers, team leaders and even employees need to make rational and sound decisions every day. The right decisions, choices and approaches help in meeting organizational goals more efficiently. It helps organizations adopt and implement measures that optimize growth in terms of products and/or services offered. In other words, decisions drive actions.

  1. Exploring Types Of Decision-Making In Management

  2. What Is A Programmed Decision?

  3. What Is A Non-Programmed Decision?

  4. Tips For Effective Decision-Making

Exploring Types Of Decision-Making In Management

In an organization, programmed and non-programmed decisions are the two types of decisions that managers make. It depends on their position, authority and responsibility. Let’s look at these concepts in greater detail. 

What Is A Programmed Decision?

Programmed decision-making involves those decisions that already have a plan or rule in place and is used to reach a solution or conclusion. In other words, managers have already made such decisions before and it’s a repetitive and routine process. They follow already established guidelines and formal patterns. Some common examples of programmed decisions include developing weekly work schedules for part-time employees, decisions regarding personnel arriving late to work and reordering office supplies.

What are the characteristics of a programmed decision? Let’s examine some features of these routine and straightforward decisions.

  • Rules, procedures and policies are products of programmed decision-making

  • They’re used to solve problems that are frequently occurring

  • The decisions remain consistent over long periods of time

What Is A Non-Programmed Decision?

Contrary to programmed decision-making, non-programmed decisions are ill-structured and one-time decisions. Problems or situations that don’t have a concrete set of rules or guidelines to follow rely on non-programmed decision-making. These are complex and have a long-term impact. Some examples of non-programmed decisions include adopting and adapting to new technology, acquiring another organization and improving brand image.

Here are a few features of non-programmed decisions.

  • Every situation is unique and must be managed differently

  • They call for intuition, judgment and creativity

  • Logical approaches are instrumental in non-programmed decision making

While there are fundamental differences between programmed and non-programmed decisions, there are a few similarities as well.

  • Both are necessary for the smooth functioning of business operations

  • The two types complement each other and contribute to effectively managing an organization’s resources

Tips For Effective Decision-Making

Decision-making can be a long process that requires a deliberate and thoughtful selection of information. Whether it’s a programmed or non-programmed decision, here are effective strategies to make sound decisions at work.

  1. Clearly define the decision you need to make. Understand the reason attached as it helps to create an end goal.

  2. Always do your homework and collect pertinent information before arriving at a decision. Make use of available resources and check what information is or isn’t needed.

  3. There will be plenty of choices and alternatives available as you collect information. You can even use the available information to come up with new alternatives. Make sure you’ve explored every possible option and haven’t left any stone unturned.

  4. To make sound and logical decisions, you need to evaluate whether the information you gathered addresses the original purpose. Prioritize and rank the alternatives accordingly.

  5. Once you weigh the evidence and prioritize, select the best possible alternative. You may even opt for a combination of alternatives, as long as it serves the purpose.

  6. It’s time to act on your decision.

  7. Consider the results of your decision and evaluate the process by checking if it has fulfilled your expectations. Monitoring will help you explore options.

Effective decision-making is a much-needed fundamental skill in your personal and professional life. Harappa’s Making Decisions course will equip you with frameworks to process, reflect and include multiple perspectives for informed decision-making. The Good Decision Process framework in particular will guide you in scrutinizing situations before arriving at smart decisions. Sharpen this leadership quality and win the confidence of your coworkers!


Explore topics such as What is Decision-MakingTypes of Decision-Making, What Leads To Indecisiveness &Steps In A Decision Matrix Analysis from Harappa Diaries and learn to scrutinize situations before arriving at smart decisions.

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