Decision Making Is Problem Solving

Thus the Same as the Scientific Method

The steps or stages of decision making and problem solving are the same.

Here is a quotation from Models of My Life (1991) by Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon supporting that problem solving and decision making are essentially the same:

"When Harold brought to these sessions his earlier research on problem solving, we began more and more to see decision-making processes as essentially the same as problem-solving process. My own economic theorizing was heading me in a similar direction."
  • A decision is basically a problem, so, the steps or stages of decision making are the same as those for problem solving.
  • In all steps or stages of problem solving there are constant decisions to be made. Some are so important they become a sub-problem of the main problem.
  • Today, the trend in business and industry is to push decision making further down in the organizational chart.
  • A leader's job is not only making decisions and solving problems but also seeing that subordinates make correct decisions and solve problems.

Here is a rating scale for problem solvers, decision makers and others. You can make as many copies as you want.

The Edmund Reliability Scale Worksheet

Our society is becoming increasingly more complex, team-oriented and adversarial each day. A rating scale such as the one shown below may be of some use.

Here is my version of a scale that can be used by a person evaluating his own opinion or conclusion. The scale could also be used by a team leader, scientist, businessman, attorney, judge, juror, etc. to evaluate someoneís opinion, testimony, or conclusion hopefully reached by following the stages of the scientific method.

By multiplying the raterís own degree of experience in a given subject with the score he/she assesses to an individualís opinion, testimony, conclusion, etc., we can arrive at a total score helpful in determining reliability.

You can develop variations of the suggested way to use this scientific method worksheet (shown in reduced size here) or a similar one. Example: The numerical units could be interpreted to represent money, time, sales, profit or plans and more.

The objective of the worksheet is to bring method and criteria, hence obtaining reliable ratings.

Scientific Method Worksheet
Knowledge reliability Decisions Theories Plans
Problem solutions Testimonies Criteria Ideas, etc.
Raterís name and title Raterís level of experience (circle)
LOW   0   1   2   3   4   5   HIGH
WORST                         For Rating Subject:                         BEST

Circle number you believe applicable: -10   -9   -8   -7   -6   -5   -4   -3   -2   -1   0   +1   +2   +3   +4   +5   +6   +7   +8   +9   +10

If you rated a 0 please circle reason:
Not Sure       Donít Know       Neutral       No Effect
Subject Date Score
__________ x ________ = _________
Raterís level  x
of experience
= overall score

Establish Your Own Criteria to Overall Score - for example:

Plus Scores: 1 to 16 = C (Average) 17 to 32 = B (Above Average) 33 to 50 = A (Excellent)

0 Scores: Not sure, Don't Know, Neutral, No Effect

Minus Scores: Indicate degree of failure, unreliability, inaccuracy, disaster, etc.