Thesis: Applied Management and Decision Sciences

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¶ … management and decision sciences from various theorists; and, analyzes the evolution of managerial decision making from scientific management to the complicated forecasting models used today. The objectives of the Breadth component were four-fold: (a) to examine the theories of applied management and decision sciences as interpreted by the research of Ducker (1974), Harrison (1975), and others as listed in the reference section; (b) to analyze the historic evolution of decision making from scientific management to modern applications of operations research; (c) to examine the decision making process, with a particular emphasis on the importance of values and management judgment; and (d) to describe, assess, and evaluate various decision evaluation tools including matrix analysis, influence diagrams, payoff matrices, sensitivity analysis, decision tree, probabilistic forecasting, and multi-attribute utility analysis. To accomplish these goals, a paper is provided that addresses each of the foregoing in turn, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion to the paper.

Depth Abstract

This component evaluates the usefulness of various tools formed to enhance decision making in management, particularly in terms of their applicability to decision making in university circles as well as critically assess recent research which addresses the application of diverse decision methodologies. The objectives of the Depth component were four-fold: (a) to explore and assess recent research-based knowledge concerning the role of quantitative models and tools in higher education decision making; (b) to describe the prevalent models currently used in most universities and judge their relative merits; (c) to evaluate the significance of each of the decision-making methods explained in the breadth component for higher education administration; and (d) to describe the management fads which have evolved through university administration and critically analyze why each had failed. To achieve these goals, an annotated bibliography of 15 relevant peer-reviewed journal articles addressing the application of various decision methodologies to higher education administration is provided followed by a paper that corresponds to the evolution of management techniques in higher education with the evolution of methods used in businesses described in the Breadth component is provided, followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion to the paper.

Application Abstract

The final component uses the pertinent decision making tools identified and discussed in the Breadth and Depth components to" (a) examine the decision making process used by Zomba University Isoka Campus in launching a new program and apply the decision science theories that were learned and demonstrated in the preceding components; and (b) to develop a decision model for analyzing the feasibility of a new program at Zomba University Isoka Campus and make recommendations to the university's director. To achieve these goals, this component uses the decision-making models analyzed and discussed in the Breadth and Depth components together with additional relevant materials to develop an analysis of the decision to launch a specified new program. Following the assessment of the implications of the new program, this component proposes a decision-making methodology to the university's director for use as a protocol for evaluating other programs that will be launched in the future.

Applied Management and Decision Sciences

Breadth Component

The first part, the breadth component, will examine theories of applied management and decision sciences from various theorists; analyze the evolution of managerial decision making from scientific management to the complicated forecasting models used today. Second part, the depth component will evaluate the usefulness of various tools formed to enhance decision making in management, particularly in terms of their applicability to decision making in university circles as well as critically assess recent research which addresses the application of diverse decision methodologies. The third part, application component will utilize the pertinent decision making tools to assess the feasibility of a new program at Zomba University Isoka Campus.

PART 1: The Breadth Component

A.

Objectives. The objectives of this part are four-fold as follows: (a) to examine the theories of applied management and decision sciences as interpreted by the research of Ducker (1974), Harrison (1975), and others as listed in the reference section; (b) to analyze the historic evolution of decision making from scientific management to modern applications of operations research; (c) to examine the decision making process, with a particular emphasis on the importance of values and management judgment; and (d) to describe, assess, and evaluate various decision evaluation tools including matrix analysis, influence diagrams, payoff matrices, sensitivity analysis, decision tree, probabilistic forecasting, and multi-attribute utility analysis.

B.

Learning Resources. The materials to be reviewed and interpreted in this part include, but are not limited to, the resources listed in the reference page.

C.

Criteria for Evaluation. In a paper of approximately 30 pages, first, I will discuss the components of a good decision, as articulated by aforementioned theorists. Second, I will trace the historic evolution of management thought, compare each approach, and critique the implications of each on the management decision making process. Third, I will describe the steps in decision making process, focusing on the importance of values and management judgment. Finally, I will describe various decision evaluation tools and evaluate each tool in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, its relationships to other tools, and its incorporation into management judgment.

Review of the Relevant Literature

Theories of applied management and decision sciences as interpreted by the research of Drucker (1954, 1974, 1985), Newman (1971), Harrison (1975), and others.

Peter F. Drucker. One of the leading "gurus" of management theory, the late-great Peter F. Drucker has received accolades from all over the world for his insightful analyses of how businesses work in the real world and how theoretical constructs can be applied to them in meaningful ways. According to Boudreaux (2005), "Peter F. Drucker died on November 11, 2005 at the age of 95 at his home in Claremont, California. Often called the father of management and the world's most influential business thinker, his work influenced businesses and organizations large and small. Notable corporate giants, including Jack Welch and Bill Gates, acknowledge Drucker's profound influence" (p. 18). Drucker (1974; p. 400) reports that motivation represents one of the fundamental responsibilities of management. In addition, Drucker is almost fanatical about using reliable information upon which to base informed decision, including the demographics of the targeted population of an organization of whatever type it might be. For instance, according to Drucker (1985), "It is sheer folly to disregard demographics. The basic assumption for our time must be that populations are inherently unstable and subject to sudden sharp changes -- and that they are the first environmental factor that a decision maker, whether businessman or politician, analyzes and thinks through" (p. 90). These insights suggest that some decision-making tools are better suited for a given analysis than others, but selecting the correct variables for use in the decision-making process is equally important as well.

Although much has changed in terms of computer-based applications that can be used to facilitate the decision-making process, the underlying tenets of his advice remain salient today. In this regard, Drucker (1985) advises that his so-called "Business X-Ray" can provide decision makers with a useful analysis of their organizations as well as its products and services, its markets, as well as the technologies upon which it relies to remain competitive. For instance, Drucker (1985) notes that, "The Business X-Ray is a tool for decision making. It enables us, indeed forces us, to allocate resources to results in the existing business. But it also makes it possible for us to determine how much is needed to create the business of tomorrow and its new products, new services, and new markets. It enables us to turn innovative intentions into innovative performance" (p. 155).

In order to achieve this optimal level of organizational performance, though, means that management must assume a leading role in making its own products and/or services obsolete instead of waiting for its competition to do so. In this regard, Drucker advises, "The business must be managed so as to perceive in the new an opportunity rather than a threat. It must be managed to work today on the products, services, processes, and technologies that will make a different tomorrow" (1985, p. 155). Drucker's philosophy of management reached its mature form in his book, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974). According to Witzel (2003), in this book, Drucker "begins with the notion that managers should move away from the idea of managing processes and instead seek to manage for results. He emphasizes the central importance of the manager to the business enterprise; the manager's function is that of a catalyst, pulling together the otherwise static resources of production and making them active" (p. 76).

The purpose of all decisions is to compel an action of some type and it is Drucker's view that it is the decision maker who is the driving force behind organizational change. In this regard, Witzel cites Drucker's work and states, "Quite literally, it is the manager who breathes life into the enterprise and makes it function. It was possible that in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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