The difference between problem solving and decision making lies in the fact that problem solving is actually a procedure, while decision making is an act born out of individual insight gained during problem-solving activity. Many individuals use the words’ problem solving and decision making interchanged, but they’re actually not the exact same. In truth, problem solving may be the most flexible and dynamic form of decision making; however, problem solving is a much slower procedure than decision making. In short, problem solving is more concerned with problem formulation, estimation, assessment, prioritization, and implementation. On the flip side, decision making involves compiling relevant information, analyzing data, forming an opinion, and making a decision.
Problem-solving is often described as a “best alternative” or a “plan B.” It is often necessary to choose the “best alternative” or the “right plan” in the face of uncertainty. For example, if you are in the market for a new car, you might initially make the decision to buy a Honda instead of a Chevy Cavalier because you believe that a Honda will have fewer problems when it comes to making fast, sharp turns. However, when it comes to driving an automobile with poor handling capabilities, you might decide to buy a Cavalier. The key here is to look at all of the variables that impact your decision, weigh your options, and determine which option provides you with the best long-term benefits and the least amount of risk. Problem solving, on the other hand, is more concerned with problem definition, analysis, identification, and prioritization.
According to many successful business people and business leaders, problem solving is much more about a systematic, rational approach rather than a “feel good” sensation. They maintain that rational approaches to problem solving yield much better results, which are frequently more accurate and tangible. Rational problem solving and organic approaches take into account the full range of possible outcomes and circumstances, including the costs and consequences of those outcomes. They also recognize that the appropriate management approach requires knowledge about not only the current circumstances but also about future events and scenarios. These facts, coupled with the appropriate information, can help us to form a framework that encompasses a range of possible courses of action, evaluate the relevant factors, and then select the most viable options.
Organizational scientists argue that problem solving and making decisions involves a balancing act between resources and time. In addition, they note that human beings are highly motivated to find solutions to complex problems and that they tend to explore and attempt new things when given a chance to do so. In contrast, some organizational scientists suggest that brainstorming, when done properly, is a self-directed activity that does not require the participants’ full attention. Indeed, the process may even allow participants to go back and forth between problem-solving and brainstorming sessions, thereby eliminating the need to make decisions based solely on intuition or “gut feeling.”
Problem solving and decision-making typically involves the application of analytic skills, including the process of critical thinking. Analytical skills are used to gather and organize data and to arrive at a solution to a problem. In this sense, problem solving is actually quite different from pure problem solving: While problem solving is concerned with finding a solution to a problem, decision-making is primarily concerned with determining which course of action will yield the greatest benefit. While both may involve using logic and problem solving methods, the focus of these processes usually diverges. Moreover, it has been noted by commentators that problem solving frequently occurs in settings in which people may be motivated to work creatively rather than solve problems directly.
One of the primary tool tools used in problem solving and decision making examples is the swot analysis. The swot analysis is essentially a ranking system, in which there are five categories, and the order in which the candidates are ranked is determined by how closely they match up to the pre-determined parameters. For instance, the candidates who are placed at the top of the list in the case of problem solving are the best prepared for the job. In decision making cases, however, the candidates who are placed in the bottom two slots on the list are deemed the least prepared for the position.
In both problem solving and decision making situations, a number of possible solutions are presented to the candidates. In the problem solving situation, the possible solutions are considered based on the available information. In the decision making example, the possible solutions are critically analyzed in order to determine which among them is the most beneficial for the company. Problem solving, on the other hand, requires the candidate to first determine the possible solutions to the problem, and then to select among those options using logic.
Finally, it is important to note that problem-solution and decision-making processes differ in many ways. In problem solving cases, the method of operation is guided by a clear understanding of the problem. In decision making cases, the method of operation is also guided by a clear understanding of the problem. The importance of the problem-solution lies in its ability to provide solutions to the problems rather than simply identifying them. Finally, in organic approaches, the process is also guided by a logic that allows for the consideration of all the relevant factors that affect the solution.