BASIC SELECTION MODEL BY DECISION-MAKING PROCESS The optimizing decision maker is rational. That is, he or she makes consistent, value-maximizing choices within specified constraints. These choices are made following a six-step rational decision-making model. Moreover, specific assumptions underlie this model. The Rational Model The model begins by defining the problem. A problem exists when there is a discrepancy between an existing and a desired state of affairs. If you calculate your monthly expenses and find youâ€™re spending more than you allocated in your budget, you have defined a problem. Many poor decisions can be traced to the decision maker overlooking a problem or defining the wrong problem. Once a decision maker has defined the problem, he or she needs to identify the decision criteria that will be important in solving the problem. In this step, the decision maker determines what is relevant in making the decision. This step brings the decision makerâ€™s interests, values, and similar personal preferences into the process. Identifying criteria is important because what one person thinks is relevant another person may not. Also keep in mind that any factors not identified in this step are considered irrelevant to the decision maker. The criteria identified are rarely all equal in importance. So the third step requires the decision maker to weight the previously identified criteria in order to give them the correct priority in the decision. The fourth step requires the decision maker to generate possible alternatives that could succeed in resolving the problem. No attempt is made in this step to appraise these alternatives, only to list them. Once the alternatives have been generated, the decision maker must critically analyze and evaluated each one. This is done by rating each alternative on each criterion. The strengths and weakness of each alternative become evident as they are compared with the criteria and weights established in the second and third steps. The final step in this model requires selecting the best alternatives by computing the optimal decision. This is done by evaluating each alternative against the weighted criteria and selecting the alternatives with the highest total score. Assumptions of the Model The rational decision-making model contains a number of assumptions. Letâ€™s briefly outline those assumptions. 1. Problem clarity. The problem is clear and unambiguous. The decision maker is assumed to have complete information regarding the decision situation. 2. Known options It is assumed the decision maker can identify all the relevant criteria and can list all the viable alternatives. Furthermore, the decision maker is aware of all the possible consequences of each alternative. 3. Clear preference Rationality assumes that the criteria and alternatives can be ranked and weighted to reflect their importance. 4. Constant preferences. Itâ€™s assumed that the specific decision criteria are constant and that the weights assigned to them are stable over time. 5. No time or cost constraints. The rational decision maker can obtain full information about criteria and alternatives because itâ€™s assumed that there are no time or cost constraints 6. Maximum payoff. The rational decision maker will choose the alternative that yields the highest perceived value. Improving Creativity in Decision Making The rational decision maker needs creativity, that is, the ability to produce novel and useful ideas. These are ideas that are different from whatâ€™s been done before but that are also appropriate to the problem or opportunity presented. Why is creativity important to decision making? It allows the decision maker to more fully appraise and understand the problem, including seeing problem others canâ€™t see. However, creativityâ€™s most obvious value is in helping the decision maker identify all viable alternatives. Creative Potential Most people have creative potential that they can use when confronted with a decision-making problem. But to unleash that potential, they have to get out of the psychological ruts many of us get into and learn how to think about a problem in divergent ways. We can start with the obvious. People differ in their inherent creativity. Einstein, Edison, Picasso and Mozart were individuals of exceptional creativity. Not surprisingly, exceptional creativity is scare. A study of the lifetime creativity of 461 men and women found that less than 1% were exceptionally creative. But 10% were highly creative and about 60% were some what creative. This suggests that most of us have creative potential; we just need to learn to unleash it. Three-Component Model of Creativity Given that most people have the capacity to be at least moderately creative, what can individuals and organizations do to stimulate employee creativity? The best answer to this question lies in the three-component model of creativity. Based on an extensive body of research, this model proposes that individual creativity essentially requires expertise, creative-thinking skills, and intrinsic task motivation. Studies confirm that the higher the level of each of these three components, the higher the creativity. Expertise is the foundation for all creative work. Picassoâ€™s understanding of art and Einsteinâ€™s knowledge of physics were necessary conditions for them to be able to make creative contributions to their fields. The potential for creativity is enhanced when individuals have abilities, knowledge, proficiencies, and similar expertise in their field of endeavor. The second component is creative-thinking skills. This encompasses personality characteristics associated with creativity, the ability to use analogies, as well as the talent to see the familiar in a different light. For instance, the following individual traits have been found to be associated with the development of creative ideas: intelligence, independence, self-confidence, risk-taking, an internal locus of control, tolerance for ambiguity, and perseverance in the face of frustration. One of the most famous examples in which analogy resulted in a creative breakthrough was Alexander Graham Bellâ€™s observation that it might be possible to take concepts that operate in the ear and apply them to his â€œtalking box.â€? He noticed that the bones in the ear are operated by a delicate, thin membrane. He wondered why, then, a thicker and strong piece of membrane shouldnâ€™t be able to move a piece of steel. Out of that analogy, the telephone was conceived. For instance, most of us think of hens laying eggs. But how many of us have considered that a hen is only an eggâ€™s way of a making another egg? The final component in our model is intrinsic task motivation. This is the desire to work on something because itâ€™s interesting, involving, exciting, satisfying, or personally challenging. This motivational component is what turns creativity potential into actual creative ideas. It determines the extent to which individuals fully engage their expertise and creative skills. Importantly, an individualâ€™s work environment can have a significant effect on intrinsic motivation. Work-environment stimulants that have been found to foster creativity include a culture that encourages the flow of ideas, makes fair and constructive judgments of ideas, and rewards and recognizes creative work; sufficient financial, material, and information resources; freedom to decide what work is to be done and how to do it; a supervisor who communicates effectively, shows confidence in others, and supports the work group; and work-group members who support and trust each other. Information Technology in HR Human Resources information technology is essential for companies to manage their benefits plans and their employee information. Benefits management technology is no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity to help HR manage both a sea of information and the money spent on benefits plans, as HR faces limited resources and constantly changing data. But how do HR and other executives know they are selecting the best HR information technology to manage all of the details, and that the solution they select will stand the test of time? Following are the key questions to ask and answer in the process of selecting Human Resources information technology. What is the degree of flexibility and scalability that the HR information technology software provides? HR professionals should determine if the software can import data from multiple Excel spreadsheets, databases, and paper documents and the level with which it can interface with all kinds of systems and data. The software should be able to take in and filter information from multiple sources. Ideally, this process should also be automated. Many online enrollment solutions require that data be manually manipulated before it can go to a carrier to update their systems. Automation of the update format, transmission schedule and delivery method can help to eliminate billing and eligibility issues. Will the software be able to accommodate HR’s company and benefits carriers’ rules? A truly capable enrollment engine will evaluate each enrollment activity and apply any necessary combination of rules, messages, prompts, and options specifically designed to meet the exact eligibility requirements desired. The software should accommodate any eligibility rules that the company and carriers have. Will the HR information technology be able to grow and scale with the organization? HR should assess the technology’s ability to grow as the company brings on new employees, offices, benefits changes, and rules. HR should ask about the thresholds for each of these elements. Is the HR information technology software able to integrate with other systems? Payroll and other functions often share much of the same information as benefits management. HR can obtain greater efficiencies when data and other employee information entered into one system can be shared with another system. Who is responsible for implementing, or building, the solution? What level of training is involved? Some solutions require the client to be very involved with the initial implementation, which can be overwhelming for already busy HR administrators. HR should have a clear understanding of the level of training and technical expertise that will be required and the amount of time expected. Questioning solution providers on this topic can provide insight into subtle areas that might initially appear simple, yet involve significant technological expertise. HR can then determine specific tasks that may be so cumbersome as to realistically impede completion, potentially reducing HR information technology value and ROI. If training is involved, is there a charge? Costs of training should also be assessed - including time away and travel expenses for off-site travel. HR needs to become aware of all hard and soft costs involved in the HR information technology adoption. Who will own the data? The answer to this question should be the Human Resources organization. Companies should be able to transport their data to any Application Service Provider (ASP). If the data resides on a carrier’s proprietary server, the company may sometimes be charged additional fees should it switch carriers. What types of maintenance and upkeep are required? When software is installed on a company’s on-site workstations or servers, regular updates to that technology are often required and may be cumbersome to plan for and manage. Updates to HR information technology are often made automatically with software available online through an Application Service Provider (ASP) or Software as a Service (SaaS) model. What security measures are built into the HR information technology? If the software is available online, through an ASP or SaaS model, the provider should offer daily backups, backup servers, and added protective layers. Additional systems and procedures should be in place to safeguard information from being lost or accessed by unauthorized personnel. HR, in consultation with other managers, should have exclusive authority to decide who will be allowed access to the HR information technology and to what degree. Will employees be able to enroll in benefits plans and make changes in real-time to their personal data and plan choices? Employee access should be a given, considering the widespread, general access to computers; 70% of the population has Internet access at home. Employee self-service provides huge potential to save time and money. A good self-service system will guide employees smoothly through entering information about themselves and their dependents. The system should clearly present the plans available and enable employees to make selections at their convenience, simplifying these actions throughout the process with wizards. Employees should also be able to add dependents and change information as necessary, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.