Is knowing the types of bias and how they affect decision-making enough to create a quality decision?

quality decision
quality decision

During the last two weeks, we examined the idea of how our brain goes about making decisions. In a sense, we examined the idea that we are hardwired to make decisions that are not objective and, thus, do not allow us to always make the correct decision or approach the decision in a way that will yield a quality decision. Knowing this should begin to have you doubt the effectiveness of a pros and con list or gut instinct process that many use to make decisions. Is knowing the types of bias and how they affect decision-making enough to create a quality decision?

This week we are going to examine how the use of a decision-making model as a process for decision-making will help to minimize the effects of bias influence and add structure as well as objectivity to the process of creating decision choices, thus yielding a quality decision.

There are many decision models used by managers and organizations today, but they all contain common elements: identifying the decision to be made, framing the decision as to its purpose, designing alternatives, evaluating the alternatives in relationship to the objectives needed to meet the purpose of making the decision, making the decision, and reviewing the process for its effectiveness in implementing the decision.

It is important to remember that the purpose behind decision-making models is to help mitigate the influence our natural biases have in making decisions. Understanding each model element and how it operates to interject objectivity into the decision-making process is essential to learning skill # 4.

The application of a decision-making model is an analytical process. “An analysis of anything means that information is broken down into its separate components and studied, looking for connections and relationships; while a process is a series of actions with an end goal in mind. So, when put together, an analytical process is taking the whole of something and breaking it into pieces for the purpose of some form of action.” (Universal, 2019) In the next few weeks, we will embark upon the journey of breaking down a decision into parts and then rebuilding it using the model process, to make a strategic business decision.

The model we will use in this class is adapted from the Decision Quality Model Developed by the Decision Education Foundation in conjunction with Stanford University. model is known as DQ or Decision Quality. We have adapted the model by adding and combining elements to the traditional six-step chain. We will call it MDQ or Modified Decision Quality.

Here are the elements of the MDQ process:

· Define the decision to be made by evaluating the facts surrounding the decision, including a problem that may have generated the decision (if there is a problem), and separate those facts that are not relevant to the purpose for making the decision. Form a clear statement of the decision(s) that must be made.

· Frame the decision– there are three components to a decision: 1) Purpose– what you hope to accomplish by making the decision (objectives- note these differ from the outcomes which drive a problem solving process); 2) Scope– what to include and exclude in the decision; and 3) Perspective– your point of view about the decision, the ways you want to approach, or others may approach making the decision. Framing is like the zoom feature of the camera. What we include in the picture is the scope of the decision. The angle for the best lighting and view is the perspective and what kind of picture we want, an action or landscape shot, is the purpose.

· Building the decision– this includes researching the relevant facts and all potential opportunities suggested by the decision statement and objectives. This would include ideas toward collecting and evaluation of relevant data/research, and developing creative alternatives that could result in the objectives being met by the decision.

· Evaluate and Make Decision– 1) Comparing the alternatives using tools (e.g., a Decision matrix) which seek to minimize subjectivity in the evaluation process. 2) Improve- are their gaps in the quality of the decision? Do you have areas that you are uncertain of or feel lack information? Repeat the process after filling in the gaps to see if the choice is 100% what you want from the decision. (Decision Quality Model, 2009).

· Assess the Decision–  Assess the process up to the time of implementation by asking the questions: Does the alternative chosen fulfill the objectives set out for making the decision? and Was the process applied successfully? Are there objectives missed in the alternative that need repeating so that implementation of the decision will go well?  The answers to the questions are subjective in nature, but if the answer is registering discomfort for the decision maker with the alternative chosen it is possible that the wrong decision has been made, objectives not provided for or prioritized improperly and review of the process is needed.

Adapted from Decision Education Foundation 2009 retrieved from


References: Breaking Down the Decision Making Process. (n.d.). Retrieved from


· The application of a decision making model is an analytical process which requires a complete understanding of the steps of the model and how they add objectivity and structure to the decision making process.

· The decision maker must understand the steps of the model and how each helps to minimize bias and add objectivity to the decision process.



Chapter 1 DQ

Dr. Judd on the Decision Quality Model  (View the first 15 minutes)


Introduction: MDQ Process- Step One, Define the Decision

Skill #5: Applying the first step of the model by Identifying the decision to be made.

Decision-making is the process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions. Using a step-by-step decision-making process can help you make more deliberate, thoughtful decisions by organizing relevant information and defining alternatives. The rational approach a model offers will help to minimize bias and increase the decision makers ability to collect more viable information and interpret it to create comprehensive alternatives that seek to satisfy all the objectives of the decision purpose.

This week we will start with Step One of the MDQ Model: Identifying the correct decision to be made.

What is the problem or opportunity for which a decision is needed (What is creating the need to decide?) Once you have identified the purpose for the decision, it is easier to refine the decision to be made.  It is important to clearly identify what it is that you want to achieve (the goal in making the decision). Identifying the decision to be made is an essential step that paves the way for the next steps. The more accurate we are defining the decision, the happier we will be with the choice we ultimately make. Start by asking the questions: what is the decision to be made and why? Define the issues surrounding the decision.

Note: In this step it is critical to remember the difference between problem solving and decision making. The problem is not the decision to be made.



Application of the MDQ Model:   Example: Which House Do We Purchase?

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Applying the Process for Making Decisions

How to Analyze a Case Study

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