By the end of this chapter, the student should be able to:     

·         Explain the term decision and decision making.

·         Make decision using the decision-making process.

·         Analyze the different types of decisions families make.



Decision is the making up of one's mind to take an action or to do something. It is therefore a choice whereby individuals form judgment about a situation or a circumstance. It is an attitude about what should or should not be done.

Decision making is the course of action taken to select from a number of alternatives. Decision making is a regular activity in everyday life. It is an activity, which pertains to all human and business activities.

Decisions are part of every area of life e.g., decisions about family life. Decisions are related to all areas of daily living. Decision making is a mental process which occurs in all the four steps of the home management process.


Steps in Decision - Making

There are four main steps in decision making:

i. Identifying the problem: At this point, the individual recognizes that there is a problem and that the need to make a decision exists. For instance, the rate at which food is wasted in the home through poor preservation and storage could alert the homemaker to the need to decide on buying a refrigerator and deep freezer.

ii. Obtaining information and searching for possible alternatives or courses of action: As soon as the problem has been identified, the decision — maker seek information on the various types of refrigerators and deep freezers available on the market, their prices, sizes and durability. She also considers the money available to her. The alternatives could be the "thermocool" freezer, Philips freezer, etc.


iii. Considering the consequences of each alternative or course of action: Each alternative will have some advantages and disadvantages. The decision-maker has to consider all these at this stage of the decision — making process.


iv. Selecting an alternative or a course of action: After due consideration in step three, the decision maker finally makes a decision, that is, she selects the alternative considered best. As soon as the choice is made, she should accept responsibility for the decision made.


Types Of Decisions Families Make

Major Decisions

Major decisions are big decisions that individuals make in life. They are about long-term goals. e.g., building a house or obtaining a degree, starting a farm or starting a business. If the major decision is to start a business, it will involve how much to invest, where to obtain the capital, what business to invest in etc.

Minor Decisions (Satellite Decisions) 

These are small decisions that result from the major decision. They are the less important decisions that have to be made as a result of the central decision.


Examination Questions and Suggested Solutions

1.a. What is decision-making? (1999)

Decision making is the course of action taken to select from a number of alternatives. Or it is

the process of selecting an alternative or course of action from several alternatives.


(b) Outline the steps in the decision-making process.

(i) Identifying the problem.

(ii) Analyzing the problem.

(iii) Identifying alternative solutions to the problem.

(iv) Seeking information about alternatives.

(v) Selecting the best alternative to solve the problem.


(c) Use the outlined steps in 2(b) above to show how you selected the secondary school you are attending.

(i) Identify the problem: Identify or choose the secondary school you wish/want to attend.

(ii) Analysis of problem: How will the programme enhance your future career aspiration e.g., lawyer, doctor, business executive, etc.

(iii) Course of study in relation to doctor (science), lawyer (Arts) and business executive (business).

(iv) Student capability: Whether the student has what it takes to read the chosen course

(v) Type of school — Is the school chosen a science, business or arts bias school?

(vi) Other alternatives: Think about the class of the school you have chosen

        Alternatives include:

 (a) Single sex school (that is either male or female only school).

(b) Co-educational (mixed school).

(c) Day or boarding schools.

(d) Private or public schools.

(vii) Course to pursue in the school.

(viii) Cost of education (fees, books, etc.).

(ix) District, region or town in which school is located.


Seeking information

Gather or get all the necessary information about the various schools and their courses and compare them.

 Making a decision

Make a choice of one of the schools giving reasons.


2.a. Explain why decision making is a process (2005)

It is a process because different activities or actions are carried out or undertaken at each stage or step

(i) That is, it involves moving from one stage or step to another — identifying the problem

(ii) Analysis of the problem

(iii) Considering the consequences of each alternative course of action OR selecting an alternative or a cause of action


(b) State two situations which would create the need for an individual to make a decision

(i) When the individual wants to start a business or start a farm. This involves making decisions as to how much to invest, where to obtain capital etc.

(ii) When the individual has limited resources or there is great demand

(iii) When the individual has many alternatives from which to choose or make a choice.


(c) Your major decision is to go for further studies

(i) State two minor decisions that will help you achieve the major decision

(i) The choice of institution or school

(ii) The choice of course

(iii) Residential status - resident on campus or outside campus


(ii) State four sources from which information can be obtained for the major decision

(i) From friends or former students of some of the schools.

(ii) From the media (newspapers, magazine etc.) or internet

(iii) From school brochures

(iv) By individual visiting the schools to access information


(d) List the steps in the management process

 (i) Planning

(ii) Implementation

(iii) Evaluation


Examination Questions

1. Distinguish between major decisions and minor decisions.

2. a. What is decision making?

b. Outline the steps to follow in the decision-making process.

3. Why is decision making important in management.

4. What are some of the series of decisions that occur at the planning stage of the management process?

5.a. Why is it important to follow carefully the decision-making process when taking a major decision?

b. Afi wants to attend a university in Ghana. Show how she would use the decision-making process to choose the university.

c. State and explain any three non-human resources that can help Afi in her studies. (2002)


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