(IGP) IAS Pre Paper - 2: GS - Decision Making and Problem Solving (Part 2)

Decision Making and
Problem Solving (Part 2)

Step 4 Implementing the Solution

The fourth step involves five subparts.

  • Develop an action plan Implementation requires a series of steps to :
    • Articulate who has to do what, with what resources, by what time, and toward what goa
    • Identify who must know about the decision.
  • Identify needed resources Resources include people, information (data), and things. Ask yourself:
    • Are there any special requirements?
    • What resources do I need?
    • How long will it take?
    • Where will I get them?
    • What can others offer?
  • Determine objectives, Objectives are measurable targets that are
    • Used to monitor progress and establish priorities.
    • Based on analysis of the situation and contingencies.
  • Build a plan Your plan should state :
    • Who ...
    • Will do what (and with whom) ...
    • How
    • By when
    • Where
  • Implement the plan Use the action plan to put the decision in place
  • The correct answers are
    • Presents the best of the feasible solutions
    • Describes the activities required to implement the solution.
    • Describes the resources needed to implement the solution
    • Includes a timetable for implementing the solution.
    • Addresses foreseeable side effects.
    • Identifies who will take the action.

Remember that the planmust be disseminated to all who have responsibility for any part of implementing it.

Step 5 Evaluating the Solution Situation

Evaluation involves two parts :

Monitoring progress. Ask :

1. Has the situation changed?
2. Are more (or fewer) resources required?
3. Is a different alternative solution required?

Monitoring the success and results of a decision is an ongoing process that is critical to fine tuning a course of action.

Evaluating the results. Use the following checklist to help you evaluate the decision.

Checklists For Evaluating the Results

  • Does the decision and action plan make use of existing channels of communication to generate feedback? 3. Will the feedback test the effectiveness of the decision?

  • Is the solution achieving its purpose?
  • Will the feedback be sufficient to reflect changing circumstances and conditions that might occasion the need to modify the plan?
  • How will you know if the proposed decision has worked? Is it measurable? If yes, how?
  • Is timely information generated so that it can be supplied to operational, administrative, and policy units in the jurisdiction?

For effective decision making, one needs to identify the various styles and attributes of Decision Making. One must find one’s psychological type’, and the ways to relate it to one’s personal preferences as well as factors and styles that have an impact on one’s ability to make rational and effective decisions. Also required is that you first accept whether the situation requires the ‘individual’ decision or ‘group’ decision.


The psychiatrist Carl Jung categorized different personality patterns as psychological types. Based on his observation of people’s behavior, Jung concluded that people have inherent differences in how they use their minds and where they derive and focus their energy

Jung identified two mental processes:

  • Taking in information (or perceiving).
  • Organizing information and drawing conclusions (or judging).

Jung also identified two different ways in which people do each of these mental activities

  • People take in information either through their senses or by intuition.
  • People organize information either by thinking or by feeling.

People also differ in where they derive and focus their energy. They are either externally oriented (extroverts), energized by people and activity; or internally oriented (introverts), energized by ideas and thoughts. These different ways of organizing and relating to the world obviously can be combined in different ways, thus creating different psychological types. For example, one person could be an extrovert who relies on thinking more than feeling and sensing over intuiting, while another individual could be an introvert who is intuitive and feeling oriented.

Using Type Inventories to Determine Preferences

One kind of personality test called a type inventory can help you to determine your preferred or dominant ways of functioning, including your preferred decision-making style. Such tests ask you to answer a series of questions, and, based on your responses, assign you a type that is an aggregate of your preferences.

  • Extroversion vs. introversion (where energy is derived and focused)
  • Sensing vs. intuition (how information is obtained)
  • Thinking vs. feeling (how decisions are made)
  • Judging vs. perceiving (how the test taker is oriented toward the external world

Your Type—What Does It Mean for Decision Making?

The following are some generalizations about each dominant function:

  • Feeling: The bias is towards integrity. Decisions should consider people’s values and needs. Ask, “How does this affect those involved?”
  • Sensing: The bias is toward stability. Decisions have to make sense based on past experience. Ask, “What are the facts, costs, and benefits?”
  • Thinking: The bias is toward effectiveness. Decisions must be objective and logical. Ask, “What are the pros and cons, causes and effects?”
  • Intuition: The bias is toward innovation. Decisions should creatively make use of new opportunities and insights. Asks, “What are the patterns and possible interpretations?”

What Does It Mean to Flex?

To flex means to ask yourself the questions of the other three functions, as well as the questions of your dominant function that naturally occur to you. A key to good decision making is that it uses both sensing and intuition to gather all the pertinent information, and both thinking and feeling to weigh all the factors involved. When we rely only on our dominant function, we tend to miss things and make poorer decisions. Although this process may feel awkward at first, it will lead to decisions that are more sound.

Who Decides?

As you read through the four types, note that the amount of control that the leader has over the decision drops from total to almost none. In addition to the four dominant functions explained above, there are also four styles of decision making based on who makes the decision. Yet, the leader retains ultimate responsibility.

As an emergency manager There are other times, however, when you must make a command decision alone. Several factors affect whether a decision should be made by an individual or a group. Use the questions in Job Aid 3-1, on the following page, to determine whether the circumstances call for an individual or group decision.

Individual Decision Making

You work often in situations that require a high degree of coordination in individual decision making. These cases call for a group decision-making process. The leader must make the decision alone, and input from others is limited to collecting relevant information.

Group Decision Making

In this case, the leaden and others work together until they reach a consensus decision. Each group member’s opinion and point of view is considered. As a result of helping to make the decision, group members buy into the final decision and commit to supporting its implementation.

Successful Group Decision Making

Group decision making requires good leadership to be successful. There are special conditions necessary for group decision making, such as adequate time. There are also particular pitfalls unique to group decision making, such as “groupthink.”

Decision Making Through Consultation

In consultation, the leader shares the issue with one or more people-seeking ideas, opinions, and suggestions— and then makes a decision. The leader considers the input of others, but the final decision may or may not be influenced by it.

Delegating the Decision

When delegating a decision, the leader sets the parameters, then allows one on more others to make the final decision. Although the leaden does not make the decision, he on she supports it.

Avoiding “Groupthink”

“Croupthink” is a phenomenon that occurs in a cohesive group when members let their need to agree with each other interfere with their ability to think about the decision critically.

Three conditions may lead to “groupthink”:

  • Overestimation of the group’s ability and power :
    • Allows members to ignore warning signals
    • Allows members to feel complacent
    • Could result from an overreaction to low self-esteem resulting from recent failures on a difficult task.
  • “We” vs. “They” attitude
    • Leads to stereotypes of outsiders.
    • Encourages nationalization of decisions.
  • Pressure toward conformity :
    • Could result from direct pressure applied by the group to members who try to disagree.
    • Does result in members censoring themselves to maintain their membership in the group.

The key to avoiding on mitigating groupthink lies in the behavior of the group leaden. If you are the leaden of a group with the potential to exhibit groupthink behavior, you may want to take one on more of the following preventive actions:

  • Encourage everyone to air objections and doubts and to accept criticism.
  • Describe the problem without revealing your preferred solution.
  • Assign the group into subgroups and ask each to evaluate the problem.
  • Invite outside experts to challenge the group’s decision.
  • Ask members to take turns playing “devil’s advocate.”

To minimize group think during an emergency:

  • Encourage dissenting opinions consistently
  • Discuss the need to remain open to possibilities with responding personnel before an emergency.
  • Examine patterns of decision making during previous emergencies and analyze them to take connective measures.

  • Time pressure creates a need for quick decisions.
  • Personnel responding to disasters typically have a high degree of cohesion

When leaders can influence their groups to avoid groupthink, decision making becomes possible based on a healthy consensus. Consensus is not the same as 100-percent agreement. In consensus, group members determine that they actively support the decision of the group, even though it might not be their personal choice.

Reaching Consensus

Guide to knowing when you’ve reached consensus and to facilitate gaining consensus from your group.

How do you know when you’ve reached consensus?

You’ve reached consensus when each member can say;

1. “My personal views and ideas have been really listened to and considered.”
2. “I have openly listened to and considered the ideas and views of every other group member.”
3. “I can support this decision and work toward its implementation, even if it was not my choice.”

Tips for reaching consensus

1. Don’t employ win/lose techniques, such as voting or negotiating favors back and forth.
2. Look for alternatives that are next most acceptable as ways to break a stalemate.
3. Don’t encourage members to give in to keep harmony.

Case Studies: Individual or Group Decision?

These case studies will provide you with an opportunity to review several scenarios and determine what type of decision making process would be most effective.

Follow the steps below to complete the case studies.

1. Read each of the following scenarios.
2. After reading each scenario, decide whether an individual or group decision would be most appropriate under the circumstances.
3. Give the rationale for your decision.

Case Study 1* : Shelter Planning

You are the shelter coordinator for the local Red Cross at Vishakhapatnam. It is April, and you are beginning the process of reevaluating sheltering needs for the people on eastern coast before cyclone season begins due to disturbance in Bay of Bengal. As part of the process, you have asked all of the shelter managers, the local schools’ management, and personnel from local religious bodies., and nursing homes tautened a meeting to review potential shelter locutions and capability

1. How should the decision of shelter selection be made?
2. What is your rationale for selecting this decision-making process?

Case Study 2* : Overturned Chlorine Container

You are the District Magistrate of Sohar, a bursting city in Rajasthan with population of over 6 lakh Y;,,. the information at 8 pm that a container carrying liquid chlorine has overturned 5 km west of Sohar on the NH8. Il is the month of May, temperature risen to 44 degree Celsius, and strong western wind is blowing. There is a heavy traffic on the National Highway at this time. You are not sure if the truck container is leaking but need to make a decision about whether to evacuate the area under a possible chlorine cloud.

1. How should this decision be made?
2. What is your rationale for selecting this decision-making process?

Case Study 3* : To Sandbag or Not?

It has been raining for 4 days, and the weather forecast is calling for the rain to continue for at least several mot days Ganges is rising steadily due to influx of addition water from Gandak and Sone along Patna. The river is rising, but is not expected to overflow over the City for several more days. Just how high the river  will rise is unknown as the rain continues to fall. The Public Works Department has advised you (District Magistrate of Patna) that sandbags will be riot effective along the local low points on the areas like Gulabighat, Ranighat and along the weak points of Digha, and has suggested that the whole area around the bank be evacuated immediately. Residents of the City are, however concerned about their property and are spontaneously gathering to fill sandbags to add support to the weak points on the bank. In an effort to gather all information available from all parties, you have called a meeting of the heads of primary response agencies and the community group leaders.

1. How should this decision be made?
2. What is your rationale for selecting this decision-making process?

Answers to Case Study 1

There are two possible correct answers for this scenario, depending on the assumptions you made as you road. For example, if you determined that the decision about shelter locations should be made individually through consultation or through group decision making, you are correct. Ultimately, the Red Cross shelter coordinator will be responsible for shelter selection. ‘Therefore he or she could quite reasonably gather all of the necessary information, then select the shelters. If,  however, there are additional factors that make it important to gain the group’s agreement on shelter selection, a group decision-making process might be preferable. The decision clearly will not be made individually, because the e shelter coordinator has called a meeting, it is also unlikely that the decision would be delegated.