In business, leaders often face decisions that require more than just following rules or procedures. These decisions are known as non-programmed and require a different approach than programmed decisions. In this article, we will explore what non-programmed decisions are, how they differ from programmed decisions, and how to make them effective.
What Are Non-Programmed Decisions?
Non-programmed decisions are not routine or repetitive and, therefore cannot be solved by following rules or procedures. These decisions are complex, unstructured, and often require a high judgment and creativity. Non-programmed choices are usually made in response to new or unusual situations, such as a crisis, a significant change in the industry, or a unique business opportunity.
How Are Non-Programmed Decisions Different from Programmed Decisions?
Programmed decisions are routine and repetitive and can be solved by following rules or procedures. These decisions are structured, and simple and do not require high judgment or creativity. Programmed decisions are usually made in response to routine situations, such as ordering supplies, approving expense reports, or hiring employees.
The main differences between non-programmed decisions and programmed decisions are:
Complexity: Non-programmed decisions are more complex and unstructured than programmed decisions.
Judgment: Non-programmed decisions require high determination and creativity, while programmed decisions do not.
Rules: Non-programmed decisions cannot be solved by following a set of rules or procedures, while programmed decisions can solve.
Programmed and Non-Programmed Decisions: Examples
Programmed and non-programmed decisions are two types of decisions that leaders in the business world often face. Programmed decisions are routine, repetitive decisions that can be solved by following rules or procedures. Non-programmed decisions, on the other hand, are complex, unstructured decisions that require a high level of judgment and creativity. Here are some examples of each type of decision:
Programmed Decisions Examples
- Ordering office supplies: This is a routine decision that can be made by following a set of rules or procedures. The decision might involve checking inventory levels, comparing prices, and placing an order with a vendor.
- Approving employee vacation requests: This is another routine decision that can be made by following a set of rules or procedures. The decision might involve checking the employee’s available vacation time, ensuring adequate coverage in the workplace, and approving the request.
- Responding to customer inquiries: This decision can be made by following rules or procedures. The decision might involve answering the customer’s question, providing information, and resolving issues or complaints.
Non-Programmed Decisions Examples
- Responding to a crisis: This is a complex, unstructured decision that requires a high level of judgment and creativity. The decision might involve assessing the situation, gathering information, planning action, and executing the plan.
- Entering a new market: This is another complex, unstructured decision requiring high judgment and creativity. The decision might involve conducting market research, analysing competition, assessing risks and benefits, and developing a strategy.
- Developing a new product: This decision is often non-programmed because it requires creativity and innovation. The decision might involve brainstorming, researching, prototyping, testing, and refining the product until it is ready for launch.
Characteristics of Programmed Decision-Making
Programmed decision-making refers to making routine, repetitive decisions that can be solved by following rules or procedures. These decisions are often based on experience and are made consistently. Here are some characteristics of programmed decision-making:
1. Well-Defined Situations
Programmed decisions are made when the problem is well-defined, and the information required to make the decision is readily available. The decision maker clearly understands the situation and knows what steps to take to resolve it.
2. Pre-Determined Criteria
Programmed decisions are made using pre-determined criteria established before the decision is made. The decision maker knows what factors to consider and how to weigh them in making the decision.
3. Rules and Procedures
Programmed decisions are made by following a set of rules or procedures. The decision maker has a predetermined process for making the decision and knows what steps to take at each stage.
4. Routine Decisions
Programmed decisions are routine, repetitive decisions that are made regularly. The decision maker has experience making these decisions and knows how to make them efficiently.
5. Low Risk
Programmed decisions are low-risk because they are based on past experience and are made consistently. The decision maker knows what the outcome of the decision is likely to be and can predict the consequences of the decision.
6. Time and Cost Effective
Programmed decisions are time and cost-effective because they can be made quickly and efficiently. The decision maker knows what steps to take to make the decision and can do so without spending a lot of time or resources.
How to Make Non-Programmed Decisions Effectively
Making non-programmed decisions effectively requires a different approach than making programmed decisions. Here are some steps to follow when making non-programmed decisions:
Identify the problem: The first step in making non-programmed decisions is to identify the problem or situation that needs to be addressed. This involves gathering information, analysing the case, and defining the problem.
Generate alternatives: The next step is to list possible solutions to the problem. This involves brainstorming and considering different options, such as feasibility, risks, and benefits.
Evaluate alternatives: Once a list of other options has been generated, the next step is to evaluate each alternative. This involves considering the pros and cons of each choice, assessing the risks and benefits, and determining the best course of action.
Make the decision: After evaluating the alternatives, the next step is to decide. This involves choosing the best option and developing a plan of action to implement the decision.
Implement and monitor the decision: The final step is to implement the decision and monitor its effectiveness. This involves implementing the plan, tracking progress, and making adjustments as needed.
Non-programmed decisions are complex, unstructured decisions that require a high level of judgment and creativity. They are made in response to new or unusual situations and cannot be solved by following rules or procedures. Making non-programmed decisions effectively requires a different approach than making programmed decisions, involving steps such as identifying the problem, generating alternatives, evaluating alternatives, making the decision, and implementing and monitoring the decision. By following these steps, leaders can make effective non-programmed decisions and navigate complex situations successfully.