Letís examine some generalizations about decision-making behavior and business decision processes that impact building and using Decision Support Systems. At a fundamental level, both managers and Decision Support Systems analysts need to acknowledge that decision-making is an important part of a manager's job and some other business professionals. Managers take actions on behalf of an organization and stakeholders. They allocate resources and negotiate agreements. They monitor performance and correct deviations from plans. Managers are evaluated on their ability to make effective decisions. The effectiveness of business decisions is evaluated by many stakeholders, but especially by managers in the managerial hierarchy and by stockholders.
Most of us would agree with the above generalizations, but we need to refine our understanding of business decision-making to build successful DSS. Let's begin by asking: What steps do managers follow in making a specific decision? When does a decision process begin and end? How do we identify who is involved in making a specific decision? Managers who want to improve their decisions need to be sensitive to the answers to these questions. DSS designers also need to ask and answer these questions. Decision Support System design should begin with an understanding of an existing decision process. This chapter emphasizes: understanding managerial decisions; evaluating decision-making context; the decision-making processes; what is "good" decision-making; and redesigning decision processes.
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