Programmed and Unprogrammed Decisions

Cite this article as:"Programmed and Unprogrammed Decisions," in The Business Professor, updated April 6, 2020, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/programmed-and-unprogrammed-decisions/.

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What is a Programmed Decision and an Unprogrammed Decision?

The response to a problem is generally based upon the nature of the problem. The method of response can generally be characterized as follows:

  • Programmed Decisions – Programmed decisions are repetitive and routine in nature. That is, this type of decision or response to a situation is common within the organization and largely “automated”. Programmed decisions are generally documented as Procedures, Policies, or Rules. As such, this type of decision does not require a high degree of analysis and evaluation. They certainly do not require managers to go through each step of the decision-making process.
  • Unprogrammed Decisions – These are novel, ambitious, and often incomplete in nature. Because they are unique and non-recurring, managers must generally undertake the various steps in the decision making process to address these decisions. Particularly, managers must analyze the problem, identify alternatives, and choose among the best alternative.

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