The decision maker in decision theory is a person or entity choosing the final variant of the decision. It could be a person who takes all decisions relating to the purchase of the products, e.g. whether to buy?, what to buy, where to buy? The decision maker can be described as follows: can make a decision and take responsibility for it.
Who can become decision-maker
In each choice problem, decision-maker appears naturally as someone that has to take the decision. There are three basic categories of decision-makers:
- person - for example: When the problem is the choice of the place of work decision maker is a job seeker. In case of a purchase, the decision-maker is usually an individual consumer, but also a manager choosing the future supplier for the company.
- group of people - for example: Members of the municipality office take a decision related to the investments. New plan is adopted by the management board for the company. Persons on major positions are responsible for choosing the objectives, while those at the lower ranks choose measures needed to achieve them. Family can act as group decision maker. Group decisions require greater commitment and are generally more complicated. In case of group decision maker, provision should be made for appropriate procedures that enable to make a decision even when individuals consider different options.
- machine - for example: automatic unit setting out the optimal temperature of the furnace in steel industry or in air conditioning.
There are two kinds of decision makers:
- decision maker with expert competences - having the knowledge to create and analyse decision proposal,
- decision maker with formal competences - selects particular variant based on information put together in decision proposal.
- Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., & Johnson, E. J. (1993). The adaptive decision maker. Cambridge University Press.