A decision maker is a concept in a decision theory that describes a specific entity or group that undertakes the decision-making process. Policy makers are most often defined as those responsible for formulating or changing politics and economics. At the national level, this includes ministers, civil servants, advisers, members of parliamentary committees, deputies or employees of government agencies, among others.
In some areas of state management, these entities also include people who demonstrate expertise in a specific area and play an important role in the process of forming political reality. The decision-makers themselves are also approached by many people outside the areas of influence who wish to make a significant contribution to the decision-making process. These may be, for example, lobbyists, special interest groups, scientists or voters.
For every problem that requires a choice, there is a decision maker. These entities can be divided into three basic categories. The first of them are natural persons, that is, individual units that have the individual capacity to make a specific decision.
These people usually make a choice while maximizing expected utility based on their personal beliefs. The individual becomes a decision-maker in various spheres of daily life: from choosing a career path, through making a specific purchase, to establishing a strategy for the company.
Decision makers can also be groups of people made up of several independent individual entities. Group decisions usually require a lot more commitment and can be a bit more complicated. In the case of collective decision-makers, it is also necessary to establish appropriate procedures that will help in reaching a decision in the event that a number of people in a given group consider different variants to be optimal. Rear examples of group decision makers families, boards of organizations and companies, as well as parliament can be given.
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Final category of decision makers there are machines, that is, devices programmed to perform a specific function by making a choice. It can be artificial intelligence, but also a simple controller that sets the appropriate parameters for dosing a substance, for example in the production process.
Policy development process and the choices associated with it are quite complex. It is often compared to a kind of cycle in which several basic steps are taken into account, such as objectives, assessment of reality, motivation, justification or feedback, among others. The policy itself does not consist of separate segments, but is a specific set of the components mentioned above.
On policy makers it is influenced by many different factors that simply cannot be ignored when making a decision. These include, for example, budgetary constraints, public opinion, political opponents, values, ideologies, interests or specific socio-economic conditions of a given country.
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Policy makers therefore have a relatively difficult task, for example in the case of macroeconomics. Individual economic factors are interrelated in so many ways that changing one can have unintended consequences for many others. Policy makers they therefore have to strike a rather delicate balance in trying to tip the scales in favor of economic growth in a way that does not add to the overall volatility of the economy.
How to plan activities with decision-makers?
When planning a specific project, the right course of action should be considered. How do you reach the people responsible for making the final decisions? Before trying to contact decision makers, consider this:
- What is the key message relevant to your decision? If the project is at the planning stage, it is not known in advance what its results will be – therefore it is worth planning it carefully;
- Why is a certain decision important (eg for politics or economics)? It is good to do this in the form of a summary and to listen to the needs and expectations of the decision-makers themselves. This way it is much easier to influence the whole selection process;
- Who influences decision change? Identify key people and groups who create, implement or influence the course of events;
- when and how to get involved? The most effective cooperation in making specific decisions is through dialogue or the use of valuable knowledge or suggestions;
- use of social media – although this trick may seem unusual, generating information reach in order to influence the decision-making process is a very good procedure. For example, it is an effective way to reach other political circles or undecided voters with your vision.
As our guide shows, the quality of decisions made in many social spheres significantly affects the course of events and the standard of living. Therefore, policy makers have a real challenge to make the right choice in often key topics. They are responsible for any possible failure or negative consequences of the decision taken. When planning activities with decision-makers, one should also consider key aspects – what to pay attention to in order to make the quality of activities as high as possible.