Decision Making Challenges Facing Ethical Dilemma


Decision making is a major managerial function in the sense that the attainment of organizational goals and objectives directly depends on the quality of decisions made by managers. In the same way the performance of line managers is judged by the quality of the decisions they make. Good management will be largely associated with quality and timely decisions (Williams, 2002).

The kind of decision that Martha faced was an operational decision. These are decisions that need to be made in the course of day to day implementation of organization’s objectives. These are decisions made by middle level managers such as supervisors on issues that come up in the process of their work (Adair, 2010).

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Decision making challenges

Group dynamics

This refers to the study of groups and also the general terms for group processes. A group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other (Adair, 2010). For instance, task groups are groups which seek for solutions to a problem or generate decisions together. The inability of Martha to make a personal decision concerning the customer’s complaint without involving the task group that makes the company decisions posses as a challenge.

Biases in perception

This is whereby different people tend to view same issues differently depending on their frame of reference, expectations, selective exposure stereotypes or interests. For this reason Martha is faced with a challenge because her bosses do not seem to take the customer’s complain with a lot of weight as she does herself.

Fallacies in reasoning

A fallacy is essentially an error in reasoning. Fallacies are often repeated and may make one think they are true. In the case at hand, Herb has heard the customer’s complaint but he believes having marketed his fertilizer for 35 years, there should not be complains. This is a fallacy on his side, and it poses a challenge to Martha’s decision making.

Personality differences

This refers to the way people are similar and different in there thinking, feelings and behavior. In the case at hand, what Martha feels as a big issue is ignored by the top management posing some difficulties in the making of a decision.


The recommendations to this company are to come up with methods of problem solving so as to solve the prevailing problem. Some of the recommended methods are:


This solution finding technique involves a group of people defining the problem, one person from the group writing down all suggested ideas on a white board. The ideas are then analyzed one by one until the best is chosen. This method encourages creativity and team spirit.

The fish bone diagram

This is a cause and effect diagrams that when completed looks like a fish. It enables members to separate between causes and effects and see the problem in totality. This method has advantages including assisting the group to see the full picture, serving as a device for ideas generated and discovering the origin of the problem.

Decision tree

It’s a type of network used to model a progression of decisions. The root of the tree is the decision point with branches being the probability that might lead to a right decision.

Dealing with the customer complaint They should first accept that there exists a problem with their product and apologize to the customer and promise to make the necessary corrections. They should also withdraw the product from the market immediately to avoid further complains, that might tarnish the company name.

Steps followed in problem solving

From the management of Herbs garden products, the following steps could be taken:

State the problem not the symptom

The problem in this scenario is the presence of a poisonous component in the garden fertilizer. A customer having complained about the presence of the poisonous component in herbs garden fertilizer is just a symptom.

Define the present level of the problem

That some customers are already aware of the presence of a harmful component in the company’s product is the present level of the problem.

State the objective which should be achieved

This is what the company expects to achieve as they try to counter the problem. For instance, facing out all the fertilizer containing the harmful component from the market in a month’s time.

Select the most likely causes

They may state some of the causes of the problem as negligence by their producers and also negligence on their own side as management of the firm.

List all alternatives solutions

This involves coming up with all possible solutions. The management of Herbs garden products should come up with a list of alternative solutions and rank them in priority order. The solutions should then be discussed and the most appropriate selected. The decision that is most appropriate should be the one that garners the highest total rating from the listed alternatives.

Making an action plan

Once the appropriate solution has been picked it is important that the company makes a schedule on all the different steps to be followed in the implementation. The schedule should then be adhered to strictly to ensure that the problem is exhaustively addressed.

Solving the problem

This is the final step in solving the problem. After all the activities in the action plan are done then the management can go ahead and directly address the problem. It is important to take in mind the initial challenges brought about by the problem so as to evaluate the solution offered.


Adair J. (2010), Decision making and problem solving, New Jersey, Cambridge University Press.

Williams S. (2002). Making better business decisions: understanding and improving critical thinking and problem solving skills, Oxford University Press.


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