Jun 16

The current institutional foundation our society has learned to grow on is slowly starting to crack. Although it may be cracking, that doesn’t mean it will be fixed. Power is always the architect to our every-day sociological formulas.

An individual who lives those formulas must be mindful of what type of variables they use and why do they use them? Who do they consider when designing the premises involved? Who benefits? There are so many questions regarding power and the errors of conceptualization in research, it’s hard to pinpoint what is going on. Breaking up all these questions into small steps and basic ideas can help reach a substantial answer about what is going on in the decision-making process.

decision-making power and control

decision-making power and control

First, it is important to consider what exactly is a social ‘problem’ and by what social means have we reached such a problem? It is important to think of already established problem definitions and the power behind the process that led to them. In addition, Caplan and Nelson state, “Whatever becomes identified publicly as a social problem is a genuine problem, derived from universally recognized truths, and the problem is of such priority that it deserves attention over other problems that go unattended or un recognized. (Caplan and Nelson).” Consequently, not selecting the right problem can lead to a common error of conceptualization.

After identifying a social problem, the next step of the decision-making process is to think of what needs to be solved and try to understand the problem. Being sociologically mindful, this is a crucial point in the process because when trying to figure out what needs to be solved, it is important to consider: Who is at fault? Who is benefiting? What information is relevant/irrelevant? What assumptions are being made? Careful caution needs to be used here, because a Type I or Type II error can easily be made.

Also, it is important to consider previous knowledge on the matter, but be mindful if past information on the subject is accurate or not. Previous knowledge on a matter could have been misconceptualized and lack of revisions causes institutions, organizations, and individuals to continually practice a wrong thought process.

It is hard to change patterns in our society and if we don’t re-frame some fundamental premises in our research problems we are going to continue to build off of bad decision-making skills on social problems. We need to step outside of the box and look at our past decisions on a social problem and reconsider new alternatives. How do we come to a conclusion that we fully ‘understand’ a problem? One person may understand a particular problem differently than another. One large factor to this problem is power.

Power is the fundamental attribute in having a vertically structured society. The presence of power can result in victim-blaming, hand-pointing, and dehumanization. Little regard is ever placed on the individual, but on institutionalized goals and objectives, resulting in unbalanced relationships. The point here is that problems are viewed differently in this structure and not everybody is included in the decision-making process.

Adapting to a more horizontal organizational structure will help facilitate large participation in the decision-making process due to less power involved. The more people that is included in the process, the more people that will share the same point-of-view on understanding a social problem that may be present.

Although a horizontal structure may seem like a good alternative to our current system, it will be hard to promote in our capitalistic society. We need to start decreasing ‘power’ outlets in the media, and start portraying more horizontal benefits.

After a proper understanding of the problem is intact, it is now important to devise a plan. What operations will be conducted to help enforce new adjustments to the problem? More times than not, routine implicit plans are designed to solve a problem. Again, we need to step outside this social-trap and start training new thought patterns for more maladaptive solutions. We need to carefully think of what variables need to be included in the formula that will give a functional answer to society.

Stepping aside, I think that a stationary overall goal needs to ‘always’ be present in the decision-making process. This will avoid particular interests from being served and keep all decisions on the same playing field.

The goal is to keep a positive regard for society. If we can raise agencies to a higher level of consciousness, which transcends all implicit institutionalized social pressures, hopefully we can make better judgments in our decision-making process.

In conclusion, the planning process is the most crucial part to involve the sociological mind. We need to include all necessary variables and eliminate power as much as possible.

horizontal integration allows everyone to solve the problem.

horizontal integration allows everyone to solve the problem.

Designing the operations to use for solving the problem is much easier than actually doing them. Carrying out the plan and performing the actual operations may be the hardest corner to turn in the decision-making process with a sociologically mind. With the current institutionalized disease of thinking; managers, authorities, and other official determinants will simply start running a plan regardless of the how it negatively affects the people involved (or forgotten) in the formula, despite if they included them in the formula with a positive sign. There is always a rather large discrepancy between the designed plan and the plan in motion.

Evaluating the plan is the end of the decision-making process. Did the problem get properly resolved? Is it reachable? Evaluating with a sociological mind and viewing any discrepancies is essential in determining if the plan was executed correctly.

Of course, with all of these steps being discussed, they are only effective if no errors of conceptualization are being made. For instance, having a type II error present, when planning, may result in categorizing people as inferior and superior (power), thus resulting in a dysfunctional answer to society.

We must quit striving for the quick way out of things and learn not to stress on the routine institutionalized doctrine. If we don’t fight against it now, the institutional monsters will only going to get stronger. How come our society has gotten in such a rush? We see examples of it everywhere. From the dominance of the fast food industry to the quick decisions made in our justice, health, and other institutions, it seems that everyone is trying to find the fast way out. Maybe a simple solution to minimize conceptualization errors is to slow down the decision-making process? Slowing anything down can allow details to come to the surface and more clear-headed thinking to occur.

The vertical organizational structure is the root to the power, and power is the root to conceptualization errors in our decision-making. Re-framing our society’s organizational structure would be a prime candidate for a solution. Doing so would eliminate power and promote horizontal organization. People would all be included in the decision-making process and no interests would be served.

There is hope in the future; in fact, many organizations are starting to practice horizontal organization. The key goals and features that organizations are starting to notice by shifting to this type of structure include; improved performance, cross-functional nature, innovative, higher employee empowerment, and much more.

An article states, “Horizontal is not just within the boundaries of your company. It's extending across and it's connecting with your customers and suppliers all down through the value chain.” This is a clear example that more people are involved in the formula.

Although switching to a horizontal organization may be hard, the benefits will decrease conceptualization errors in our decision-making process. Learning to handle the steps of the process properly and being mindful of who to include/exclude in the formula can facilitate a more functional society. Sooner or later the cracks in our society’s architectural foundation need to be filled and promoting awareness and different organizational structure can do this.

Ostroff, Frank. “The Horizontal Organization.” Brooke Education. http://www.brooke.edu/dybsocroot/gs/projects/horizontal/transcript_2.htm (27 Jan. 1999)

Caplan, N., & Nelson, S. D. (1973). On being useful: the nature and consequences of psychological research on social problems. American Psychologist, 28, 199-211.

– Throughout this essay I refer to power in terms of how our society is placed in my world. Currently, with how our society is set up, usually power is involved with all decisions for significant social problems. I seem to also give power a negative edge due to my conspiracy-like thinking
– The steps I discussed for the decision-making process assume that no errors of conceptualization are being made and a common goal of social well-being is conscious to the decision maker.


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