Decision Making - Planned Decision in a Workplace Environment - Bounded Rational Decision Analysis - Assessment Answer

January 14, 2017
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1GFE

Question:Decision Making

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Decision Making Assignment

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Decision Making

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With the rising number of women workforce in a workplace environment, there are many challenges also that come across. From gender discrimination to sexual harassment there is a lot that women goes through in a job. Countries like, India, Canada, Australia and even USA are facing this crisis in spite of the regulations in place. However, the laws against sexual harassment in all these countries, especially in India and USA do help to a large extent. This paper contains a critical analysis of one such example that recently happened in one of the private sector banks in India and laid an example for other organizations. It is a classic example of planned decision making that has been analyzed with the rational decision making and bounded decision making models.

Planned Decision in a Workplace Environment

While there’s a lot to cheer with the rising number of woman in the workforce, the concern on sexual harassment is on the rising trend too. According to a statistical overview by the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) in 2008, with 54% of the employees witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace of which 79% are women and 21% men, Singapore faces a clandestine issue (Association of Woman for Action and Research, n.d).This costs the employers considerably as sexual harassment leads to a sudden increase in absenteeism, and employee (victim) turnover while creating a hostile workplace atmosphere. While it causes a drop in team productivity, it also effects employee engagement adversely(Sex Discrimination And Sexual Harassment, 2015).

Example of Planned Decision Making in Workplace

So, what measurements can an employer take against sexual harassment to ensure a healthy atmosphere at the workplace? This can be explained with a recent incident occurred in the bank I work for.Being a colleague and friend of people in question, I witnessed and analyzed the whole incident closely. This situation represents an ideal example of planned decision making in a workplace environment. One of the female employees in the bank, Ankita (name changed) was apparently getting constant offensive messages from an unknown Facebook ID. She suspected involvement of one of the male employeesof our bank.

It seemed that one of our colleagues, Amit (name changed) had recently made sexual advances towards her which she turned down. According to her it could be him now harassing her with offensive sexual messages that were disturbing her mental peace. However, her hesitance to reach the management with the charges was causing her mental disturbanceand increased absenteeism therefore, affecting her and the overall team performance. It was when the immediate manager thought of discussing the situation with her, that Ankita divulged all that was going on with her since the past few months.

She produced a printout of all the sexually explicit messages that she was receiving on her Facebook account from some fake ID. The manager contacted the higher management without any delaywith the evidences. The higher management ordered an investigation to be initiated within next 48 hours. This investigation was being handled by the panel especially created to handle sexual harassment cases (the Complaints Committee).

An intensive probe was carried out which involved inquiring the accused (Amit) and also Ankita who laid the charges. The management ensured a fair probe that also analyzed Ankita’s involvement in the entire fiasco to ensure if her charges were indeed true and that it was not due to any vindictiveness from any past incidence.In the process, while Amit was found guilty, Ankita’s past relationship with Amit also came to the fore.

It appeared that after Ankita moved on with another relationship, there was an obvious discord among the two which eventually led Amit to harass her in vengeance. The fake Facebook ID turned out to be from an IP address that Amit was using. Although Amit was found guilty, Ankita was also in the wrong and hence, Amit was not terminated.

The Complaints Committee demoted him, was rated down for the year and his increment was stopped. On the grounds of suppressing information about their past relationship and their discord, there was a disciplinary action taken against Ankita as well. She was asked to write an apology letter for hiding information, was admonished and issued a warning.

Critical Analysis based on Rational Decision Making Theory

Before the analysis of the entire decision making process by the management, one must know what is considered to be sexual harassment at the workplace.

Sexual Harassment at the Workplace and its Impact

Sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The impact of suggestive acts can be extensive for the work environment thatnot only injures the gender equality aspect of the woman, but also directly affects the overall productivity and the development of the society (Government of India: Ministry of Women and Child Development, 2015).

Whether the woman went through one such occurrence of sexual harassment or several by the same person, what’s to remember is that each of such instances is unique. Hence, if the woman employee approaches the management even once with such a grievance it should be investigated with all seriousness.

Analysis of the decision making process by the complaint committee

Based onthe six-step rational decision making theory the decision making process by the Complaint Committee was overall justified considering that the woman complainant has hidden certain facts.

Defining the issue to be investigated

Here the immediate manager and the committee got to the bottom of the problem by talking to the victim. With this they were able to determine that the sexual harassment complaint complied with all the related acts, provided additional details, and that it was a valid complaint. While the complainant was intimated in writing to accept receipt she was also be notified about the following process and that she had the informal or formal choices for reparation. In this case Ankita chose the formal mechanism that addressed serious issues and hence, the committee responded. As per the Service Rule Ankita was informed in writing within two days that her complaint was receivedto which she replied the very same day.

Establishing the crucial criteria for the process

The committee ensured that they had a separate confidential copy of the complaint that contained all the crucial document, the members involved had proper knowledge of the relevant acts and policies, made a note of all the dates, situations and witness names pertaining to the complaint, gathered all the relevant documents like, and the evidences produced by the victim. They also developed a plan that included creating a list of the people to be questioned, documents that needed to be checked and the time frame needed for the probe. The victim in this case did not consider taking any interim measures like, writing for any kind of restraints on the accused (which she can during the pending inquiry). The committee ensured complete support by keeping both the parties informed of the entire process.

Assessing the criteria

While the committee reviewed all the details and evidences collected to ensure of the information is enough, they also decided that they should also investigate the victim separately to find out if the complaint was out of any vindictiveness or if it was a false allegation.

Analyzing all possible solutions

After talking to both the parties, the committee identified the real cause of the complaint. They identified that Ankita and Amit were in a relationship that went sour and hence, the vengeful act by the accused in form of sexual harassment. It was also clear to them that Ankita also concealed the past details. Amit’s acts did fall within the stipulated laws and policies; however, it was an aftermath of what took place between the victim and the accused in the past. While they created a timeline, they also compared the closeness and the differences that helped them analyze all possible solutions.

Compare all solutions

Based on the solutions that the committee thought of, they decided whether they should uphold the complaint or not. In order to weigh the solution they allowed both parties to further present their angle. The complaints committee then came to a conclusion about the actions against both the parties.

Choose the best option and make report

The committee then closed on the actions against both the parties and created a final report with all the details related to the complaint including the findings and the decision (Namsouth, (n.d.).

Bounded Rational Decision Making Analysis

In this case the decision by the complaints committee was totally dependent on the information presented by the two parties. While in the beginning they had to believe Ankita’s claims, it later appeared through Amit’s interview that Ankita was hiding her past relationship angle with Amit. So, it proves here that the panel’s rationality was restricted by the information available to them, and the way their thought process worked initially based on Akita’s claims. It was also about the timeline that was available to the panel as they just had a week in their hand and they had to close this case (A Variety Of Rational Decision Making Models., n.d.). So, as per the bounded rational decision making theory the panel’s decision to demote the accused may have been a bit more stringent as they resorted to satisfice (Why we satisfice and when and how to improve it, n.d.).

Had they taken some more time to investigate, they could have known more about Ankita and if she was hiding any more details. This could have stopped Amit’s demotion and he could have been just given a warning and some stricter action for Ankita for hiding further details. It proves here that the committee indeed went for a satisfactory choice while they sacrificed a better option. Here the panel did save some time by acknowledging Ankita’s and Amit’s statements partially and hurriedly came to a decision, where they could have rather probed more to find if Amit’s claims about Ankita’s past was real and if Ankita was hiding something more. In this case they displayed the Heuristic characteristic that prompted them to make a quick decision to save mental activity (Lombardo. J., n.d.).

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