A Rational Decision Making Model

Steps in a Rational Decision Making Model

This Rational Decision Making Model usually follows six steps:

  1. Define the problem, characterizing the general purpose of your decision.
  2. Identify the criteria, specifying the goals or objectives that you want to be able to accomplish.
  3. Weight the criteria, deciding the relative importance of the goals.
  4. Generate alternatives, identifying possible courses of action that might accomplish your various goals.
  5. Rate each alternative on each criterion, assessing the extent to which each action would accomplish each goal.
  6. Compute the optimal decision, evaluating each alternative by multiplying the expected effectiveness of each alternative with respect to a criterion times the weight of the criterion, then adding up the expected value of the alternative with respect to all criteria.

This model has the advantages that you are unlikely to miss alternatives or important goals or criteria. It is also clear how the decision was reached and can be reviewed by other independent parties.

The drawbacks of this model the selection criteria might be incomplete and the weightings used may be inaccurate and may be do not fully address the things you really care about.

Tools to help you be Rational

Here are some ways forward:

See details of a software tool on the Decision Making Software Page

See a PICK Chart for a very Simple and Powerful approach 

Use SWOT as Decision Making Tool - 
See Critical Example for a Software Company

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