It’s Good Enough

Tick, Tock. Tick, Tock. Tick, Tock. There are never enough hours in a day. Common phrases we hear, and even say, “I wish I had more time,” “There isn’t enough time,” or “A race against the clock,” show that we as humans are always feeling the impact of constraints in our lives. Constraints are the limits or controls which can prevent an individual from reaching a decision. They restrict the ability of a person to reach a decision, possibly because they do not have all the information they need to make a decision or they don’t have the resources or time they need to make the optimal decision. This leads most to make the best decision they can make with the little information they have available to them at the time. (Gulati et al., 2017)

Satisficing is a decision-making process where a person makes a choice that is good enough rather than optimal. Satisficing refers to arriving at a good enough decision by analyzing all of the information you have available to you, especially when you are up against a deadline. In most cases, it would be almost impossible to actually gather all of the information you need to make the best decision, thus, satisficing represents the kind of decisions that we are actually capable of making; the good enough decisions instead of perfect ones. (Gulati et al., 2017; The Decision Lab, 2021)

No matter what we do in life, we never have enough time, resources or information to truly make the perfect or optimal decision. When managers need to make decisions without enough information or time, satisficing gives them a strategy to achieve desired outcomes. Satisficing will actually help managers make the best decisions all while saving on time, energy, and resources. In cases where the right decision to make isn’t necessarily clear, a manager can turn to their intuition to arrive at a decision on a “gut feeling” based on past experiences. Sometimes the best thing a manager can do is to worry less about making the perfect decision and make the best decision based on the information they have. (Gulati et al., 2017; McCoy, 2018; The Decision Lab, 2021)

However, there are dangers in satisficing. One danger that a manager can fall into is making a decision that works for the short-term but not the long-term. Satisficing has the potential to inhibit our ability to make a decision based on the big picture which means the decision we make might not address the exact problem. This can even cause more problems down the road. Another issue with satisficing is that it could be almost impossible to determine what constitutes a right choice. There are so many choices that a person can make to meet the criteria of satisficing that it is hard to determine what counts as a satisfactory choice, and hard to compare how different the outcome could be if another decision were made. Also, the decision that a manager makes that is satisficing may be good enough for right now, but will end up costing the company more money as time passes. This could cause more issues down the road than was expected. (Gulati et al., 2017; The Decision Lab, 2021)

Satisficing can solve the short-term problems but in most cases will not be able to provide a sustainable solution to a long-term problem. It only requires a person to meet minimum requirements which means the quality of the decision won’t be as good and could cause problems for the organization in the future. As a manager, you need to know when a satisficing decision works, and when you need to demand more information and time to make the optimal decision.

Resources

Gordon, J. (2021, July 19). Satisficing – Explained. The Business Professor, LLC. https://thebusinessprofessor.com/en_US/management-leadership-organizational-behavior/satisficing-definition

Gulati, R., Mayo, A., & Nohria, N. (2017). MindTap – Cengage Learning. Cengage.Com. https://ng.cengage.com/static/nb/ui/evo/index.html?deploymentId=557615113112872025758405199&eISBN=9781305643673&nbId=2485825&snapshotId=2485825&dockAppUid=16&

McCoy, M. (2018, December 26). How “Satisficing” Can Save Time and Avoid Problematic Perfectionism. Money Crashers. https://www.moneycrashers.com/satisficing-definition-decision-making/

The Decision Lab. (2021, April 9). Satisficing. https://thedecisionlab.com/reference-guide/psychology/satisficing/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: