According to Harvard Business Essentials (2006) an organisation is a series of decisions linked by implementation and other activities. Decisions set the pace and direction; the rest is follow through. Paul Nutt has been studying how decisions are made for more than 20 years and have found that decisions fail half of the time, without realising any benefit for the organisation (Nutt, 2002). Decision making is an essential part of the management function of an organisation. But why do so many decisions fail? Why does the outcome of decisions sometimes not satisfy the initial problem or support the organisation’s goal? Four decision making processes were analysed for this dissertation, the conclusion was drawn that current decision making processes do not incorporate a clear system approach. The dissertation shows that a system approach, as defined by systems engineering,satisfies the need for ensuring decisions are made taking into account a holistic picture. By following a system approach when making a decision, a bigger picture view can be obtained. Having a bigger picture view, will aid the decision maker in identifying whether the decision to make is indeed the right decision to be made, or merely a symptom of another decision or problem. A system approach aids the decision maker to determine where the decision to be taken fits in and what impact it will have on the system. A system approach to decision making process was designed, incorporating the strengths of the decision making process and system approach methodologies researched. The system approach methodology can be applied successfully to management decisions. By using this methodology a holistic view is obtained of a decision regarding a problem, resulting in effectively handling and managing the decision or problem.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2011.