Making Decisions and Overcoming Bias Using Research

Making Decisions and Overcoming Bias Using Research

Making wise decisions can be a tricky task for managers, especially when the decision revolves around a totally new concept about which they have no idea. As seen in the scenario where a supplier is convincing the manager of an engineering firm to purchase a new software package, decision-making typically requires obtaining as much information as possible about a problem, in addition to applying one’s intuition. Whilst the supplier’s argument that the company needs to adopt the new technology in order to remain relevant in the industry is true, the manager should logically not immediately buy the idea that the same technology will not be availed to rival firms. In short, although the supplier seems knowledgeable concerning the industry and the new technology, sufficient research should be taken before the manager decides whether or not to buy the new software.

To arrive at the most prudent decision in the above scenario, the manager will need to collect all pertinent information from external as well as internal sources. According to the 7-step decision-making model, gathering relevant information prior to making a decision usually involves interviewing people, reading books, articles, and web sources, as well as doing a self-assessment of beliefs, values, and perceptions about the problem (University of Massachusetts, 2021). Before gathering data, the manager will clearly define what the dilemma is.

From the above, it is clear that arriving at the best decision regarding whether or not to buy the new software will be made using a combination of primary and secondary data sources. In the simplest definition, primary sources refer to firsthand accounts of phenomena; those that are very close to the information’s origin (Furman University, 2021). Primary sources differ from secondary sources in that they provide raw information, while secondary sources offer information drawn from elsewhere. While primary sources contain fresh information that requires interpretation by researchers, secondary sources typically offer interpretations of primary sources. They may be considered to be syntheses, generalizations, and analyses of primary data sources. In the given scenario, secondary sources such as journal articles and textbooks exploring how to go about implementing new technology in organizations will be used to guide the decision. Similarly, the demo provided by the supplier representative is an excellent primary source of information about the strengths of the new technology.

In the same way, the manager should employ both qualitative and quantitative techniques to make the best decision. Qualitative data concerns itself with in-depth conceptualization and understanding of issues and any hidden meaning whereas quantitative data offers straight, superficial explanations. The former uses open-ended questions while the latter uses closed questions (Decrop, 2006). Quantitative data uses statistics and does not take into account other factors that may influence the phenomenon. In contrast, qualitative data tends to be more subjective, evaluating statistical data alongside all factors that may possible affect decisions (Thomas, 2014). Using the qualitative approach, the manager will rely not only on his intuition but also brainstorm and discuss the new technology with his colleagues. The quantitative approach will entail doing a cost-benefit analysis, calculating the number of years the new technology will pay back.


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Bottom of Form

Decrop, A. (2006). Vacation decision making. CABI Pub.

Furman University. (2021). What is the difference between primary and secondary sources?

Thomas, K. (2014). Qualitative & quantitative decision making.

University of Massachusetts. (2021). Decision-making process.

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