In last week’s post I talked about the decision-making profile developed by Itamar Gati. Along with some other researchers, Gati has also explored the various factors that lead to decision-making difficulties. As with the profile, this list of difficulties can provide a useful checklist for exploring decision making with clients.
They break their list of difficulties down into problems that occur before the decision-making process starts which lead to a lack of readiness and problems that occur during the process.
Before the process
- Lack of motivation — a reluctance to engage with this particular decision, perhaps because it is not perceived as important or not the right time
- General indecisiveness — perhaps stemming from a need for approval, a desire to avoid commitment or a fear of making mistakes
- Dysfunctional myths — belief in a perfect career option, belief that this is a once-and-for-all choice
- Ignorance of the decision making process — not knowing what factors to consider or how to analyse information
During the process
Lack of information
- Lack of information about self — abilities, personality and preferences, now and in the future
- Lack of information about options — ignorance of the range of alternatives and lack of necessary details about options
- Lack of research knowledge — not knowing how to find out more about oneself or one’s options
- Unreliable information — misapprehensions and misinformation about oneself and one’s options
- Internal conflicts — unwillingness to compromise, genuine lack of preference, particular reservations, dissatisfaction with viable options, unsatisfied requirements, unattainable options, etc.
- External conflicts — disagreement with influential other people about options or preferences
I have some reservations about the grouping of factors (in particular, I feel that too many separate things have been crammed together under the ‘internal conflicts’ heading). I’m also concerned about some things that seem to be missing. For example, where is ‘lack of decision making self-efficacy’? Perhaps lack of belief in one’s ability to make good decisions based on bad experiences in the past comes under General Indecisiveness.
However, even with these reservations, it does seem like a useful reminder of the many things that could de-rail a decision process.
- Do you think that there is anything else missing from this list?
- What do you think are the most common problems?
- What is the most common reason for your difficulties with decision making?
Related post: In the right zone