The Managerial
Decision Making Process

Managers and Leaders

The managerial decision making process differs from leadership decision making in two distinct ways:

  • Tactical versus strategic
  • The time frame involved


Leadership decision making is about operating strategically, drawing up plans of action or policies designed to achieve an overall outcome. The managerial decision making process is much more tactical. It's about carefully planning actions that will achieve specific ends.

Then and now

While leaders are setting the direction of the organization, they are very much organized to the future. Where do we want the organization to be in 5, 10, 20 years time? They consider possibilities and probabilities and make predictions about potential change in the marketplace and may use a variety of styles to make their decisions.

Managers deal with what is happening in the here and now. They are paid to bring some kind of order to the chaos. Decision making in management situations is used to establish control and stability. This allows the organization to move from where it is now into the future that the leaders are predicting.



However, to be really effective managers need to understand the overall strategy of the organization. They need to be able to think strategically and generate the tactics necessary to move the organization forward. The managerial decision making process therefore, is best organized to leverage present opportunities to move the organization towards its outcomes and also create further opportunities in the future.

Really good managers have the ability to move easily from a managerial role to leadership one and back again depending on the context they find themselves in. Which indicates that they have the ability to make their own decisions.

Moving forward...

So in effect, managers are operating at the interface between the ideal future of the leaders and where the organization is actually at in the present. When you consider decision making in management in this way, it alters your perception and approach to the whole managerial decision making process.

Whether you are considering consumer behavior, problem solving, or thinking about the economics of a situation, no longer is it simply a fire fighting exercise.

The emphasis moves away from simply avoiding past problems to a future orientation, an orientation around what works to get you where you want to go.


Decision making models

In terms of the actual models used in the managerial decision making process, there are detailed descriptions of many of these in decision making tools and techniques...

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