In contrast to the rational model, players in the political model (often referred to as incrementalists) do not focus on a single issue but on many intraorganizational problems that reflect their personal goals. In contrast to the administrative model, the political model does not assume that decisions result from applying existing standard operating procedures, programs, and routines. Decisions result from bargaining among coalitions. Unlike in the previous models, power is decentralized. This concept of decision making as a political process emphasizes the natural multiplicity of goals, values, and interests in a complex environment. The political model views decision making as a process ...view middle of the document...
Managers are change agents, not just decision makers, so the steps before and after a decision are as important as the actual choice of action. Preparatory steps include creating tension for change, understanding the positions of the various constituencies, and developing political support for a chosen action. Steps after the decision include naming the change monitor and identifying the monitoring methods. Therefore, the mission of good information system is broader than just collecting data to make a choice. Designers of information systems must understand not only how managers think but also how the decision process will be implemented in the managers’ environment. An information system that is well design is an information system that is used. Thus, an information system, in order to be useful, must be implemented. To understand the implementation process better, we review three models of organizational decision making－rational, administrative, and political.
The Rational Model. The rational model of decision making was introduced earlier in this chapter. It is based on the logic of optimal choice: the choice that would maximize value for the organization. The manager is assumed to be an objective, totally informed person who would select the most efficient alternative, maximizing whatever amount and type of output s/he values. We can summarize the rational choice process as follows:
1. An individual is confronted with a number of known alternative courses of action.
2. Each alternative bears a set of possible consequences. These consequences are known and are quantifiable.
3. The individual has a system of preferences or utilities that permits him or her to rank the consequences and choose an alternative.
There is no empirical support for the contention that these three phases are actually used. In reality, managers seldom have the time or money to analyze all alternatives or envision all consequences. If rationality were ever-present among members of an organization, the organization would appear as a coherent and rational policy-making entity that maximizes the attainment of a unique set of goals and has no internal conflicts. In other words, a rational decision process implies a rational organization. A rational organization is an organization that has (1) centralized power, (2) harmony and consistency of goals across boundaries, and (3) members who are objective, fully informed, and inclined to choose alternatives that maximize the common good of the organization.
The rational model represents a sanitized vision of how organizations make decisions. In reality, organizations often seem more like complex groups of coalitions fighting for shares of limited resources, and using multiple sources of information with varying reliability to achieve a set of fluid goals. Individuals within organizations typically have widely divergent perceptions and goals and act to maximize their own gains, not necessarily those of...