One question to consider is how people should make decisions not only in their work lives but in their personal lives as well. The majority of individuals may say that in order to make a reasonable and effective decision, you must find, choose, and use the best method available to you at the time. With that being said, these individuals would believe that you would need to take every factor into consideration in order to create a purely logical decision. In a more general term, the aspects associated with making a logical decision are known as rational choice decision making.
The Definition of Rationality
Prior to exploring the components of rational choice decision making, it is important to know the definition of rationality. It is a classic concept that an individual who is “rational” is also viewed as “sane” or someone who can make decisions by using a clear-head. In terms of decision making, an individual who partakes in rational choice decision making is making decisions by using a rational process, which we will delve into further. For all intents and purposes, if you are able to sufficiently study a situation and make a logical clear-headed decision, you are partaking in rational choice decision making.
The Six Steps to Making a Rational Decision
There are six essential steps that are required in order to make a rational and logical decision, regardless of the situation.
Step 1: Find the problem.
Step 2: Determine how you can find a solution/make a decision.
Step 3: Figure out if the solution has enough weight to withstand the problem.
Step 4: Create any alternative solutions.
Step 5: Rate each alternative solution based on the situation.
Step 6: Choose the best decision for the situation.
Finding the Decision Criteria
Once an individual has determined that there is a problem and they have found the problem, it is then time to find criteria that they can use to make a rational decision. In the rational choice decision making process, it is imperative that the individual is able to find which criteria would be the most advantageous to solve the problem at and and/or to make a decision. During this process the decision maker must consider values, interests, and their own preferences towards the outcome.
Weighing the Criteria
This process is as important as finding the decision criteria and making a decision. In the rational choice decision making process, it is important to be able to organize and weigh the criteria so that you can determine what is the least and most useful in making a decision. This helps to give each criteria a priority to assist with the remaining processes.
Generating Alternative Solutions
As the decision maker it is your responsibility to have other alternative solutions readily available as your “Plan B”. Regardless of how well you think the first solution will work, it is important to have a back-up plan in the event of failure. During this process you won’t appraise the suggestions to determine their eligibility, you simply list them as possible alternatives.
Rating the Alternative Solutions
For this step in the rational choice decision making process, you must rate the alternative solutions from the strongest to the weakest. Once this has been accomplished, you will know which back-up plan to choose in the event of failure. It will also provide you with an array of different decisions to choose from, each of which having a high probability of success.
Finding the Best Decision
The final process in the rational choice decision making process is to find the best decision after all of the previous steps have been completed. You will want to weigh every suggestion against each other and choose the decision with the highest potential for a positive outcome. This will help to ensure that you maximize your potential for success.
Rational Decision Making and Economics
The main reason as to why rational decision making was created was to study social behavior and economic behavior amongst populations. It has since been used to help explain theories in philosophy, sociology, and even political science. If you are studying criminology, you may have even heard of rational choice decision making as it can be used to explain why people do or do not commit certain crimes. In terms of economics, rational choice decision making is referred to as “wanting more rather than less of a good” and is used in the study of microeconomics.
Whether it be in your personal life or your work life, rational choice decision making is a prevalent concept in society. With the ability to separate the pros and cons of a situation, to create back-up/alternative plans, and to determine which method would provide you with the best outcome, rational decision making can be quite advantageous and useful.