- SBM ITB at Glance
- Academic Program
The management process, not interpreted in a classical sense, is concerned with deciding to do or not to do something, after planning, considering alternatives, monitoring performance, collaborating with others and/or achieving ends with the help of others; it is the process of taking decisions in social systems in the face of problems which may not be self-generated (Checkland, 1993). It is clear that management is a social science, because it deals with people. In the natural sciences, we try to find a law that can explain a natural phenomenon. However, in social science, it is difficult to make predictive laws, since people behave autonomously according to their values and beliefs. People are purposeful, and whether they follows a norm or not, will depend on their own interest. Therefore, management problems will always involve many interacting different views about the world, and they will often conflict with each other.
When we interact with real-world situations we make judgments about them: are they good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable,permanent or transient? Now, to make any judgment we have to appeal to some criteria or standards, these being the characteristics which define good of bad etc. for us. For example, an etc-warrior would judge any economic activity good only if it met the environmentalists criteria for good, namely environmentally friendly and sustainable. A capitalist would see an economic activity as good if it were profitable (Checkland, 2006). As humans, we always give meaning to anything we encounter. We often have ideas about improving something in the real world we think as problematical. However, problem situations in real life are very complex, because conditions are never static and situations also contain multiple interacting perceptions of reality. Also, problems in real life do not come to us as structured ones, that can be divided into several components as culture, politics, finance, marketing, human resource, and operations problems, rather than they are emergent properties of the interacting components. Decision-making in real life should consider this fact and develop the methodology relevant to it.
However, decision-making is often considered only as choosing the best alternative from several existing alternatives. However, this is unsatisfactory. In order to make a decision, a person in the first place must define what the problems are, and after those problems are clear, the next step is to take the optimal alternative. Accordingly, besides and indeed prior to considering alternative choices, a manager must be able to define problems systemically. In daily life, managers are people who are responsible for making decisions. Their primary task in taking a decision is more emphasizing what to do rather than how to do it. A manager must be able to understand problems using his/her intuition intuition (a holistic/systemic/synthetic process) and decide ‘what to do’. Research interest in decision-making now focuses on real life situations, involving intuition and taking into consideration the many parties who interact with each other. In such situations, parties behave in a unique behavior, based on internal factors such as culture, experience, motivation, and interest. Furthermore these situations may involve conflict and negotiation besides the optimization of problem solving. This kind of research is very useful for Indonesian managers because Indonesia is a unique multi-cultural country. Situations often involve many conflicting parties and are very dynamic, so that it is difficult for managers in Indonesia to begin with a blueprint of what to do.