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Lesson plan: Problem solving and decision making


Material for a 45-minute lecture, medium group work and open discussion, part of the Managing the Command Centre training course for Kosovo police officers, developed by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo


Problem solving is one of the primary expectations placed on a police officer as well as that of a manager at any level within the organisation. To be successful the manager has to use a wide array of skills and considerations to be able to not just solve the problem but stop it occurring again, at the same time as trying to maintain discipline, personal relations and individual / team motivation.

To support this development a systematic approach needs to be applied to look at the problem and after clear analysis and consideration arise at a decision. Experience shows that not all decisions are correct – being flawed from the outset or purely based on the available information at the time were the most satisfactory and either will remain satisfactory or need to be monitored as new information is obtained resulting in further decisions.

This session will look at problem solving and ultimately what is a decision and when does it occur within the process. Also what factors can influence a good decision if there is such a concept. The session will also take into account individual characteristics where some people are more risk seeking than risk averse as well as how organisational factors (policies, procedures and the actions of other managers) impact on where someone sits or moves along that scalar of risk.

The purpose of this lesson is to:

a) To provide an overview of the difference between, and factors influencing, Problem Solving and Decision Making

After this block of instruction the participants will be able to:

  1. List the five stages of the ‘Problem Solving’ process
  2. Explain the concept of risk seeking and risk averse
  3. Give examples of how personal and organisational factors can affect the decision process