Skip to content
Skip to navigation
A young male startupper wearing a white t-shirt and a pink jacket look doubtful in front of a desk filled with notes, documents and a monitor. In the background, a blue wall is filled with sticky notes

Why is Decision-Making complicated?

Decision making Risk Business

Making decisions is a complex process. Sometimes even simple decisions like ordering at a restaurant or choosing an outfit for an evening out can prove to be challenging. This complexity is amplified in the business context, where decisions can have significant impacts on success and sustainability. Just to put things into perspective, according to the study by Oracle and Seth Stephens "The Decision Dilemma," 85% of business leaders have experienced decision-making stress, often questioning the validity of decisions made in the past year.

Information overload

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the 3.5 million Google results to a simple question? "Information Overload" has been discussed since 1996 when Reuter released the study "Dying for Information." Almost 30 years have passed, yet it remains an increasingly relevant issue. As reported in the recent study "Decision Dilemma," 72% of people believe that the enormous amount of available sources and data, along with their relative lack of trust in them, leads them to refrain from making any decision. Too much information can indeed lead to an emotional override of rationality (the brain entering a "panic mode") and to the phenomenon of analysis paralysis, where the excess of data prevents a decision from being made.

Complexity of options

In the modern world, the variety of possible choices can be overwhelming. From a restaurant menu to choosing a career, the complexity of options can render us incapable of making a decision. Rational choice theory teaches us that the more options we have, the more difficult it is to make an optimal choice. This phenomenon, known as the "paradox of choice," can lead to dissatisfaction, regrets, and the feeling that, no matter what is chosen, it could have been done better.

Emotions

Who hasn't been guided by impulse in moments of great joy or deep sadness? Emotions play a crucial role in our decision-making process, influencing it in ways we often don't consciously recognize. While they can lead us towards what we truly desire, they can also distort our perception of reality, causing us to underestimate risks or overestimate benefits. The challenge lies in recognizing the impact of our emotions on the decisions we make, to avoid becoming trapped in choices we may later regret.

Cognitive Biases

Have you ever heard of the anchoring effect or confirmation bias? These are just two examples of the numerous cognitive biases that influence our decision-making process, often without us being aware of them. These automatic mental mechanisms can lead us to make irrational choices, based more on distorted perceptions than on an objective evaluation of options. Identifying and understanding our biases is crucial to improving the quality of our decisions and avoiding falling into cognitive traps.

Decisional Conflict

Choosing between spending time with family or focusing on work can become a distressing dilemma. Conflict arises when two or more values, desires, expectations, or obligations clash, leaving us in a state of decisional paralysis. Psychologists have been discussing decisional conflict since the 1950s, highlighting how it can slow down the decision-making process, increase the expenditure of psychological energy, and, in some cases, lead to post-decisional regrets. Conflict forces us to confront the opportunity cost of each choice, often making the decision-making process painful.

Uncertainty

Have you ever faced a choice without knowing which direction to take, as if you were trying to navigate through thick fog? Uncertainty in the decision-making process is precisely this: the difficulty of predicting the consequences of our choices. This phenomenon, widely studied since the 1970s, occurs when we are faced with important decisions without having all the necessary information to make an informed choice. Uncertainty can lead us to procrastinate, hoping for clearer data to emerge, or to make hasty decisions based on momentary intuitions, hoping to avoid the worst. The dilemma lies in managing this uncertainty without being overwhelmed by the anxiety it generates, finding a balance between waiting for more precise information and the risk of missing out on valuable opportunities.

The complexity of the decision-making process is influenced by multiple factors that interact with each other, complicating our daily choices, both personally and professionally. To effectively address these challenges, it is essential to develop greater self-awareness and understanding of our decision-making tendencies, learn to critically manage information, and adapt to uncertain contexts with flexibility. The key to improving our decision-making process lies in balancing rationality and emotionality, identifying and overcoming cognitive biases, and effectively addressing decisional conflicts with pragmatism. In summary, honing these skills allows us to make more informed and conscious decisions, optimizing personal and professional outcomes.

The "paradox of choice" suggests that more options make it harder to make an optimal decision, leading to dissatisfaction and regrets.

Related articles

An illustration of a red head against a blue background, with puzzle pieces emerging from the head, symbolizing the complexity of cognitive biases and decision-making processes explored in Vedrai Magazine's article

4 min 7 sec

Navigating Cognitive Biases in Business: Strategies for Rational Decision-Making

a side view of playful factory line track transporting colorful abstract shapes into a machine able to learn from them, 3d image in soft pink and peach.

3 min 21 sec

Machine Learning algorithms, what are they and in what areas are they used

an artful arrangement of colored glass ampoules, looking like a distillation machine, to conduct scientific experiments on different variables

3 min 24 sec

Sensitivity Analysis, what it is and how it is applied