Editor’s Note: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
I’ve decided I’m going to have a nervous breakdown the next time I’m in a coffee shop. At least I think I will…maybe. My computer has a nervous breakdown whenever it is faced with too many decisions, so I figure, “Why can’t I?” The next time I’ve narrowed it down to a choice between a tall decaf vanilla latte with no froth, and a grande caffeinated vanilla latte with froth, I think I’m just going to freeze, turn blue and blink. That’s what my computer does, and apparently it is perfectly acceptable because I see people everywhere staring at frozen, blue blinking screens at least once a day. The thing is, I can’t decide. I have decided that ambivalence may or may not be my problem.
Unfortunately, ambivalence may have been a luxury of the last decade of extraordinary prosperity. In the current recessionary times, I don’t think any of us can afford to be ambivalent. The astronomical growth of wealth over the previous decade and its sudden contraction left most of us in angst-ridden corporate America at a very definite crossroads. In many cases, “To be, or not to be,” seems to be very real nagging question. We have to make decisions. Sometimes these are tough decisions.
This issue of the GBR has a decisive focus on decision-making. So let me begin with Bob McQuaid’s article, Make Complex Decisions by the Numbers. If you need help deciding which job to take, or conversely how to evaluate your employees’ performance relative to each other when they have somewhat different jobs and different skill sets, AHP may be able to help. It could even help with the decision about the latte, or the choice between a chocolate brownie and carrot sticks. With this article we also return to one of the special advantages of an electronic journal — Professor McQuaid has created an interactive tool that will let you actually test out the analytic hierarchy process. Decide to be brave and read through an article on quantitative techniques and try to interactive feature. We think it will be worth your time.
Charlie Kern’s article, Putting Spirituality to Work brings us to a different take on decision-making. Dr. Kerns takes us on a journey through ethical decision-making. In so doing, he presents a framework of decision-making that business leaders can use when faced with difficult choices.
John Paglia and Steve Chopp give us insight into, Building a Cuture of Value-Creation. A key point is that there must be a clear decision to create a firm-wide focus on economic value rather than other metrics if the program is to work. “First you say you will, and then you won’t,” will not work in VBM.
Lindsley Boiney’s article, Teams Use IT to Manage Client Impressions, provides the underpinnings for decision-making in terms of how information is gathered and shared. This article shows how communication tools can be used to assist in complex project organization and management. She also shows that project teams must excel at using these tools in order to achieve competitive advantage.
In talking about leadership succession Bob Fulmer shows us the importance of planning ahead so that decisions are made thoughtfully and with sufficient information rather than under stress and in a crisis mode. His article, Choose Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, shows the critical importance of leadership development programs and how they can be incorporated into business practice.
My article, Small Firms Keep R&D Vibrant, focuses on R&D decisions for small and medium-sized enterprises. Although the scope of the resources involved may not be of the scope of those at Microsoft or GE, for the small business, the research decisions are just as crucial – maybe more so. What needs to be done in terms of research and development that will keep the firm growing? Since most businesses are small businesses, these are no idle questions.
Then there are the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court. In the Fall 2001 issue of GBR, Larry Bumgardner alerted us to some pending decisions of the Court that would have an effect on business. One of those cases has just been decided and Mr. Bumgardner returns to explain its implications in Defining Disability Under the ADA.
Finally, the GBR‘s conversation this issue is with Joe Rokus, someone who took a small family-owned business and has built it into a dominant company in the plastic container industry. But the point Mr. Rokus makes has to do with making faith and values the basis for decision-making in the operation of a business enterprise.
We also invite you to take a look at our other interactive features: The LOOP, the Quiz, EBIZ@GBR, and the Arcade. The LOOP takes us on a tongue-in-cheek look at economic stimulus, while the Quiz focuses on small business resources. EBIZ-BUZ provides new summaries and links to valuable sites, and the Arcade features one of the most popular free software programs.
If you can’t decide where to start, just do what I do – point and click. The GBR is like a good latte, you can’t go wrong whether you take it with or without caffeine.
About the Author(s)
Charla Griffy-Brown, PhD, is an associate professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. In 2004, Dr. Griffy-Brown received a research award from the International Association for the Management of Technology and was recognized as one of the most active and prolific researchers in the fields of technology management and innovation. A former researcher at the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development in Tokyo, she has also served as an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffy-Brown graduated from Harvard University, is a former Fulbright Scholar, and holds a PhD in technology management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has worked for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center and has taught innovation/technology management courses in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. She has also served as a consultant for the United Nation's Global Environmental Facility and the European Commission.