Hierarchical Decisions

Lesson 25 : Decisions Linkages

Hierarchical Decisions

This type of hierarchical linkage in decisions may occur in organizations. In family we can witness such decision in joint family systems where bigger decisions are usually made by the head of family and the next decisions related to an issue may be made by the next youngsters in the family.

Lundberg supports the hierarchical nature of decisions. He suggests that in a business organization when an administrator is "doing some­thing with information" prior to making a decision, he calls upon sub­ordinates to provide information, which in turn requires them to make decision which may involve their requiring decisions of their own sub­ordinates. This same linkage can represent major decisions made by a family but which require subordinate decisions in order to provide and evaluate information needed for the major decision.

For example, in selecting a college, one sub-sub cycle might involve eval­uating student's aptitudes. Having chosen a field, this leads to a higher level and consideration of schools which are good in that field. Another sub-sub cycle being investigated simultaneously might represent a decision as to how much the family can spend annually for college education as shown in the above figure

Complexities in Decision making:

Decision-making is not done all at once but requires time for its completion. It is not an easy job, even though no practical work is involved in the making of a decision. As quoted. by Jacques Barrun that the hardest work of all is to think and decision-making is thinking. In the Indian families although majority of the group decisions are taken wherein all the family members 'contribute. But still the major responsibilities fall on the homemaker's shoulders. It is particularly difficult for her who has a great number and more kinds of decisions to make with no specialized training in most of them. Therefore, she has to face a number of complex situations while taking the decision.

It is seen more frequently that effective decisions are not made because the real problem is not identified properly and also because people want quick action. Thus when people proceed too hastily towards a solution, results are not that effective. Thus, to solve this problem, clarity and objectivity are very important. Complexities may also arise as a result of not following all the steps while making decisions.

Another complexity in decision-making is that at times, the manager fails to select the best possible solution to this problem. This generally happens when he does not have a detailed list of alternative solutions. Thus the actual evaluation cannot begin because of lack of all possible alternative solutions being considered to solve this problem.

For effective decision-making, it is desirable not only to select the best possible solution to the problem but also one should explore all possible consequences of an alternative. However, in practical life situation, the person who makes decisions may find it impossible because of either lack of time or of the absence of suitable alternatives to analyze.

Lastly, in case of habitual decisions, which are repetitive type, it becomes difficult for the homemaker to go through all the steps systematically. Thus repetitive decisions are a problem to the homemaker especially when a situation changes. Habit puts an obstacle in evolving a solution more systematically. This is true especially when a similar situation arises, but requires a different alternative.

Resolving Conflicts in Decision making:

For making effective decisions it would be better if both the husband and the wife consult each other in all major decisions. This mutual understanding will bring greater satisfaction to the family.

An effective decision made more often is a result of the clash and conflict between different opinions and it grows out of the serious consideration of the conflicting alternatives. Role conflicts would generally emerge in the situations, where group decisions are taken. In the home situations, different roles are played by the different family members like the homemaker playing the active role, children playing the passive role and the husband in between these two. Homemaker takes the major decisions, as she is the leader while other members only support her activities. There tends to be more conflicts when these roles are superimposed on the individual. Therefore, it is necessary that some efforts are made to resolve the conflicts. If these efforts are not made, it is likely to disrupt the smooth functioning of the home and result in domestic disharmony and dissatisfaction among family members. Therefore, let us now throw some light on how to meet such situations. There is no single fool-proof solution to all the conflicting situation

Harmony of feeling
Method of resolving conflict
Highest(Complete inner agreement)
Integration/Conversion/acceptance of differences
Voluntary submission of one side
Struggle and victory of one side resulting in dominance

Thus these methods of resolving conflicts represent four different levels of harmony of feeling or inner agreement

Therefore, when conflicts arise, the different ways should be considered. The family should try to make the best method for these situations. Let us now see how these conflicts can easily be resolved in various ways.


The conflicts can best be resolved by integration in which case whenever there is a problem; satisfying solution is obtained by discussions on mutual consent. This generally happens in the case of the joint families.


This is the second best method of resolving the conflict. In this, both the parties go halfway to meet the problem, which results in bringing much satisfaction to both of them.


This is another method in which dominant characters explains the situation so convincingly while the other person happily accepts it and is satisfied.

Voluntary Submissions:

This is a method of giving in or of submissions to the dominating person. Therefore it is better if such decisions are avoided in the family

Struggle and Victory of oneself:

This is the least desirable way for one member to dominate over the others, regardless of their feelings. Though one may succeed in this way, but the other person derives less satisfaction. Thus, the situation becomes one sided and results in dissatisfaction and frustration on the part of the other person.

Last modified: Saturday, 24 March 2012, 4:42 AM