Taxonomy of Decision Making wrt Software Development

Posted on April 22, 2011

0


Author:  Sanjay Goel, http://in.linkedin.com/in/sgoel

________________________________________

Rowe and Boulgarides [1] have designed a two dimensional taxonomy of decision making styles with respect to management education. They have identified four different styles of decision making. 

The four styles differ from each other mainly in two dimensions:

(i) need for high structured-ness vs tolerance for ambiguity, and

(ii) focus on technical aspects vs focus on people and their needs.

A summary of these four styles is given below:

1.   Directive style: This style is characterized by a low tolerance for ambiguity and rational way of thinking. It uses limited data and considers limited alternatives. This style is good for such technical issues that require lower cognitive complexity and have short range impact. It is especially suitable for implementing operational objectives by using rules and procedures in a systematic, efficient, and satisfactory way.  It is more suitable for seeking acceptance and avoiding conflicts. 

2.   Behavioral style:  This style is characterized by a low tolerance for ambiguity and intuitional way of thinking. Like directive style, it also uses limited data and considers limited alternatives. This style is good for such people related issues that require lower cognitive complexity and have short range impact.

3.   Analytic style: This style is characterized by a high tolerance for ambiguity and rational way of thinking. It involves consideration of large amount of data from multiple sources, and evaluation of multiple alternatives. This style is suitable for such challenging technical issues that require focus on long range, and creativity. Analytics decision making is particularly useful for situations that require significant effort of analysis, planning, and forecasting.

4.   Conceptual style:   This style is characterized by a high tolerance for ambiguity and intuitional way of thinking. Like analytic decision style, it also involves consideration of large amount of data from multiple sources, and evaluation of multiple alternatives. This style is suitable for such challenging people related issues that require focus on long range, and creativity. Conceptual decision making is particularly useful for situations that require exploring new options, initiating new ideas, forming new strategies, being creative, taking risks, people oriented-ness, and ethical considerations.

Like in business decision, even with reference to decision making in software development,  the software developers also need to integrate these styles.   Hence, I have used these  four styles  to define four sublevels of  ‘decide’ activity at  ’evaluate’ level for revising the Bloom’s taxonomy wrt the special needs of software development education [2][3]. 

References:

[1]  A. Rowe and J. Boulgarides, Managerial Decision Making: A Guide to Successful Business Decisions, Macmillan, New York, 1992.

[2]    Revising Bloom’s Taxonomy wrt Engineering Education

[3]   Design of Interventions for Instructional Reform in Software Development Education for Competency Enhancement: Summary of PhD Thesis

[4]   Decision Oriented Model of Software Processes

Advertisements
Posted in: Uncategorized