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Planning and Decision-Making: Definition, Differences, Relationship

We have already been discussed the essential managerial functions; planning and decision making, organizing, leading and controlling. Planning and decision making is the most important step of all managerial functions. There are, however, differences between decision making and planning.

Defining Planning

Planning managerial functions where managers are required to establish goals and state the ways and means by which these goals are to be attained. Therefore planning is taken as the foundation for future activities. Or in simple terms; planning is deciding in advance what is to be done. Planning is the thinking before doing.

Management every time has to look for planning long-range and short-range future direction by estimating and evaluating the future behavior of the relevant environment and by determining the enterprise's own desired role. Plans have two basic components: goals and action statements. Goals represent an end state the targets and results that managers hope to achieve. Action statements represent the means by which an organization goes ahead to attain its goals. Planning is a deliberate and conscious work by means of which managers determine a future course of action for attaining a specific goal. To a manager means planning is thinking about what is to be done, who is going to do it, and how and when he will do it. Planning also required thinking about past events and about future opportunities and impending threats. Planning process finds the organizational strengths and weaknesses.

Defining Decision-making

Decision-making is the process of identifying a set of feasible alternatives and choosing a course of action from them. Decision-making is a part in planning. Decision-making is an intermediate-sized set of activities which begins with identifying problem and ends with choice making or decision giving.  Management is the constantly influencing organization’s action and decision making process is central to doing it.

In decision making process, a manager identifies a specific situation and finds the threats and opportunities that it offers. Than the manager must find the available alternatives to tackle with the situation. This is where planning comes in. By planning; manager finds these alternatives by testing and measuring their effectiveness. They identify the pros and cons of each alternative. After that the managers must use their decision-making skills for selecting one path of action. Decision making is the core of planning. Unless a decision has been made, a plan cannot be implemented in the field.

So we can say that planning and decision-making, both are interrelated. Decisions can be made without planning but planning cannot be done without making decisions. Planning can be defined as the process of selecting future course of action. Decision-making defined as the process of selecting a course of action from the alternatives. They need to be accurate for the welfare of the organization.

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