Decision Making Process

Decision Making Process

            In the article “How decision making can be led: We all make them, but some matter more”, the authors examine the decision-making process with a case study of the Columbia shuttle being used as a reference. The shuttle had a flight of 16 days before it blew up on entering into the earth’s atmosphere. The failure of the Columbia upon entering into the earth’s atmosphere is used to show the loss that could come out of failure in the decision making process. The lack of perception in decision-making on the Columbia’s flight risk is used to indicate how the decision-making process could go wrong. The article starts with background information on previous problems in NASA and then proceeds to the case of the Columbia. The history of the human space flight program is looked into with reference to previous problems such as the Apollo 13 which went into space in 1970 and the Challenger in 1986. The structure of administration and the actions that could have contributed to the disaster are looked at from the point of view of six people who were involved in the program.

The role played by the administration at the time is shown to have been quite significant. The decision making process which involves the choice of one alternative among many is shown to be hampered by thinking as a group. The fact that a group of people who are working together towards one goal does not necessarily lead to the desired objective is looked into. This is because it is shown that some mistakes may have been avoided had the group working on the Columbia looked into them collectively rather than in separate groups which did not share goals or ones that had different priorities. The group working on the Columbia is shown to have been close minded and one that aimed at arriving at decisions that were uniform to all rather than decisions that were viable. This resulted in decisions that had not examined alternatives with the only alternatives being considered being narrow; therefore, without variety the decision making process suffered.

The Columbia had damages but these were ignored due to the pressure inherent in a program that is serviced by public funds and one that is susceptible to pressure from the political leaders at the time. Also, the role of the president, Robert F. Kennedy, in the Cuban missile crises is looked into. The article looks into ways in which his approach to decision making affected the continuance and eventual outcome in the crisis. Objectivity in the decision making process is looked at and the effect of a lack of objectivity in dealing with the problem is looked into. The article proposes that, without the bringing about of a common goal, the objective in question cannot be achieved since people will not be working coherently. The approach of the president concerning the affair in which he used a method of questioning adopted from Socrates, could have contributed to the final outcome of the Cuban situation.

The article gives reference to the fact that the leader in a decision making process should aid the decision making process rather than lead through the sheer authority. Also, the advantages that could come off the decision making process in which a group participates are looked into. Collaboration is cited as an important factor in the success of a group and this is given credence by the citing of its benefits and applications. Also, the workings of teamwork are looked into with the characteristics of teams that work best being looked into. The responsibilities of a team leader are examined and her/his ability to bring a team together in mutual respect is cited as important in the success of the team for making effective decisions. Respect, which is mentioned as a contributor to a good atmosphere for collaboration, is shown to be essential and it should therefore, according to the authors, be encouraged and actively cultivated by the leader. The article is therefore informative concerning the workings of a group for success in decision making and could help one establish groups that are effective and which exploit the capabilities of all the group’s members to the full.


Emerald Group Publishing Limited. How decision making can be led: We all make them, but some matter more. 2005. September 22, 2009. <>

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