Barriers to Decision-Making

A google search will show you that the average person makes 35,000 decisions a day. This seems like a large amount, but teachers make 1,500 educational decisions a day. Making such a vast number of decisions can lead to fatigue, among other problems. A greater danger may be making poor decisions. Here we will look at some common barriers to decision making.

Sunk Cost

Sunk cost happens after a decision is made. What has happened is there are signs that a decision is terrible, but the leadership sticks to the decision because of the investment that has already been made. It is common for teachers and administrators to invest in products and services that later turn out to be inferior. However, because a commitment has been made and resources spent, there is a hope that staying the course will allow for an improvement in the situation.

To avoid this trap, administrators must realize that not all decisions are good ones. This means that when an idea is not working, the administrators or teachers who made the wrong choice to own the mistake shrink the mistake’s cost. Ignoring this to look like you’re in control and know what you are doing can be highly damaging to an institution.

Uncertainty

Decision-making should be as informed as possible. However, we never have access to all knowledge. This implies that there is always a measure of risk. Due to the uncertainty, leadership generally will choose the most conservative option available to minimize risk. This is wise at times but can leave tremendous opportunities on the table.

An idea related to uncertainty is a concept called bounded rationality. Bounded rationality states that people who face complex or uncertain situations often cannot make entirely rational decisions. In other words, when facing uncertainty, people’s decision-making can become uncertain or unpredictable. This commonly happens in novel situations in which it is unclear what to do. In such cases, people are limited in how much they can process and thus utilize their intuition to overcome.

Conflict

People generally want to avoid conflict. This is particularly true when decision-making involves conflict. Despite this, there are times when conflict is the best decision, such as when a student will not obey a teacher. If the teacher avoids the conflict, it sends a message to other students to duplicate the disobedient child’s behavior, which will lead to more significant problems and harsher conflict in the future.

There are at least two ways to think of conflict, and the difference is in terms of what people focus on during the disagreement. Process conflict is focused on improving how to do something and can lead to improved performance. Relationship conflict is a conflict between people that can often gt highly personal and should be avoided. The challenge is that people confuse process and relationship conflict. For example, a student is disrupting the class, the teachers reprimand this, and the student takes it personally.

As a teacher or administrator, it is crucial to keep conflict focus on process and behavior and not on people. When people become the problem, relationship conflict is sure to follow.

Conclusion

Decision-making is a crucial component of everyone’s life. Every day we are all called to make many different decisions. The implications of our choices could be tremendous. Therefore, that is why it is essential to be aware of common roadblocks to making sound decisions.

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