Decision Making Model

A decision making model is a systematic means of arriving at a decision. It is a way of organizing data with the purpose of presenting or displaying it to the decision maker in such a way that is more obvious than simply making a list of the alternatives.

A model is created from a decision making process, a series of steps which are interrelated and follow a specific methodology to ensure that one or more viewpoints are taken in collecting and depicting the data.

There are many famous models that are well used in business, such as the Kepner Tregoe Model which is a based on root cause analysis which focuses on musts, wants and adverse consequences. Another famous model is the Pareto Analysis which allows the Decision Making to choose What to Change.

A recent popular model has been Porter’s Five Forces Model, which involves depicting a relationship between competitors within an industry, potential competitors, suppliers, buyers and alternative solutions to the problem being addressed.

Decision Making Models

The Step Decision Model(s) Decision Step Models

Edward deBono’s Six Thinking Hats

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunties Threats Analysis Model SWOT

Politics, Economics, Social & Technology Analysis Model PEST

Carnegie Mellon University’s Decision Model on Satisficing Carnegie Decision Model

The Mintzberg Model or Iterative Decision Making Model Iterative Decision Model

Porter’s Five Forces Model or Competitive Analysis Porters Five Forces Model

Pareto’s Analysis Model

The Root Cause Analysis Model Root Cause Model

Tuckman’s Decision Model Tuckman’s Model

The Contingency Decision Model Contingency Decision Model

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Maslow’s Needs Model

In the past, there have been attempts to categorize models based on their objectives or the types of decisions they are meant to be used with. Models are used for specific types of decisions – for instance, the Pareto Model cannot be used to help someone buy a vehicle – there is no change involved, unless we talk about the trouble we are having with mechanical difficulties, lifestyle deficiencies, fuel budgets, etc.

These two examples should demonstrate that models are not one size fits all – they were designed for a specific purpose.

Decisions have many criteria. All of the discussion around decision making can be confusing. The decision making process is different from the model in which it is more generic – a set of steps or activities one would go through to arrive at a decision. It does not necessarily use any specific model or tool to assist in analyzing the data associated with the decision.

More of the confusion around decision making models can be around methodologies, process and techniques. A decision making model can be used with a specific decision making technique and the two are closely related. The technique is related to the “how”, where the model is more concerned with the “what” or data.

One more point about Decision Making Models before getting to the actual types and examples. Decision Models can be presented or documented in either a graphical format, or step-by-step text format. The latter is usually more of a process, or a technique.

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