Federal and Corporate Decision Making

By • December 17, 2012

By Seth A. Gordon

The Federal Government corporate environments are a massive construct comprised of various components, agencies, organizations and affiliations. Federal decisions ranging from programs and policies of law enforcement to financial speculations by the “Fed” or Federal Reserve create the proverbial butterfly effect; whereby seemingly innocuous comments or decisions create large scale implications on the federal, state and individual level.

However, before we begin to quantify the decision making process; it is necessary (to attempt) to understand the psychological and sociological impact of the current fiscal and environmental state of being within the subject area. For the purpose of this article, the subject area in our case being the United States as a macrocosm for the ability of agencies to persons to initiate actions and formulate choices.

Psychological Impact

People are inherently different in their ability to formulate decisions. Introverts and extroverted people, as defined by their genetics or environment will assert themselves in differing ways. Whether we realize it or not, we are categorized by this process which includes eight (8) primary categories:

  1. Making quick decisions,
  2. Formulating decisions over time,
  3. Procrastinating,
  4. The inability to make a decision,
  5. Making the right decision for the wrong reason,
  6. Making the wrong decision for the right reason,
  7. Making the wrong decision for the wrong reason, and
  8. Making the right decision for the right reason

Note: Right and wrong are subjective and not addressed in this article. However, for our terms we conclude that if a decision is being made the person or entity has conducted their due diligence to understand the “Best” decisions as being “Right”.

We fall into these categories based on multiple factors. A primary factor being our employment. A law enforcement officer will make decisions in a different manner than that of a financial analysis. A secondary factor being our moral and ethical standards and how we are formulating right from wrong.

Sociological Impact

The sociological impact on decision making has drastically changed over the last 50 years. There have been multiple change factors prior to this time period, although it is the authors attempt to define current situations and not delve to deeply into historical factors.

The inception of seamless and instantaneous communication allows for people in all rank and file of status to respond to situations in a manner not necessarily beneficial to the agency or the people and while we all agree that in an emergency situation it is most advantageous to communicate with the necessary personnel; the ability to type a note on a mobile device without proper thought or in an emotionally charged situation can create a negative affect or impact.

This is understood best by the example of the Federal Reserve. One word by the chairman can determine millions of dollars and futures of entire industries.  This effects global economic status and will trickle down from entire economic systems to individuals.

The federal government is in a transitory phase, not unlike that of solar flares which move through different cycles.  (As many of my readers know I enjoy astrophysics as a hobby). The sun is at an average distance of about 93,000,000 miles (150 million kilometers) away from Earth. One minute transition of a multitude of factors can have far reaching effects.

The difference between people and nature is fear. Nature enjoys the ability to negate the personal consequences of their actions. While people (hopefully) understand that there are actions and consequences to any decision they make.  From the Judicial branch of government to individual division; the inability to make decisions stems from a fear of being held accountable for their actions. Accountability is a topic I intend to address in another article. We all understand how we structure our decision making process based on accountability. From Jury’s to the Supreme Court to the laws of checks and balances, our society ensures that a level of accountability is mitigated. Therefore in a hierarchy structure; the person making the final decision often has the hardest time making a decision. The system of checks and balances works well inasmuch as it does not delay a decisions being made from an approved category within the psychological construct as defined earlier in this article, i.e. “Making the right decision for the right reason”.

The current instabilities within the economic climate the legal system, health care and other areas of national debate usually lead to an inherent inability to make appropriate decisions or any decision at all.

As is necessary to complete this essay; in order to regain stability in any sector, federal or private, it is necessary to adopt an attitude which facilitates the decision making process by understanding one key aspect; that being, it is ok to make a wrong decision. As my Grandfather is fond of saying “indecision is worse than any decision”. We learn from our choices and as long as a moral and ethical fabric is brought to bear than we can always move forward.

Seth Gordon works for Department of Homeland Security, USCIS(budget). Seth is a former TSA Security Inspector and explosives detection K-9 handler. Seth worked in private industry, Intelligence analysis, management and political affairs in a legislative oversight capacity as the Chairman of Ethics, City of Long Beach, NY.

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