Perception and Decision Making
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Perception and Decision Making
September 16, 2006
In business, what is the biggest reason there is conflict? The answer is perception and its effect on the decision making process. Many managers jump into a situation without knowing all the facts. All they have is their perceived view of what is happening, and depending on how well that manager is at perceiving the situation, his or her reaction can make the situation worse. Perception, like many other managerial skills, is a learned reaction process and can be developed over time. It is how the manager handles their perception that will determine how effective he or she is as a manager.
Perception is one of the oldest fields within scientific psychology, and there are correspondingly many theories about its underlying processes. In psychology, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing. Methods of studying perception range from essentially biological or physical approaches, through psychological approaches to the often abstract use of mental philosophy. Perception in business can relate to how a customer, manager, owner, or corporation views what is happening within a certain team or company. How the activity is perceived is often what causes the reaction and how the situation is handled. This is not necessarily the correct way of handling the situation. A manager of any size business must look at all aspects and perceptions of a situation before reacting upon his or her initial reaction.
Perception can easily effect your decision making process. When you are coming into a situation, as a manager or otherwise, you take inventory of what is happening, and this is your initial perception or opinion. If you walked into a fight that was taking place within your business, your first decision may be to penalize all parties involved, but after learning about the situation that perception may change. Your state of mind also affects your perception and judgment. These are all things that you as a manager must consider before making the call.
Positive and Negative Effects of Perception Usage
Does the usage of perception have both positive and negative effects in the decision making process? The answer to that question is definitely a yes. Not only does your perception of a situation affect your judgment, but it also effects how you will react to the situation. Imagine walking into a situation at work involving people talking about someone and as you walk up, they stop. Now also imagine that you are not happy with your current job. What would you do? Most people in this situation would assume that the other employees were discussing you, and this perception caused you to decide to quit before you found another job. This would be a negative affect of perception in the decision making process, because without taking the time to investigate the situation, anger takes over and a bad decision is made.
Now, imagine a similar situation, but this time the other employee take the time to fill you in on what is going on. You feel part of the team because they explained to you that they were planning to get together after work to blow off steam and they wanted to invite you along. This makes you perceive that maybe things are changing at work and this could be a place where you could be happy. You decide based on that perception that you are willing to give it a while longer before making the final decision to quit. This is a positive affect because now you are motivated to try harder and give things one last chance to change. Perception and attitude can make all the difference in the world, especially the world of business.
Real World Decisions
How are decisions in a real world business organization actually made? Well, usually it is based on one manager’s opinion and then taken to the management team for a final decision. When a situation happens at a time when all managers can not be a part of the immediate solution, then once all managers are available they will sit to discuss what should be done. This happens in the organization I work in all the time. There are only two days a week when the entire management team is there. It is during this time