As a rule, ordinary family decisions relating to vacations or plans for the weekend seem to be quite easy regarding long-term consequences, but they still require much time and efforts since all family members have to agree with the ultimate result. Besides, there is always one person, most likely the head of the family, who has the highest stake in the discussion of all family matters. A client chosen for this assignment relating to making effective decisions with the use of the proposed framework is my father who has recently had to make a decision about the upcoming holiday. He has been interviewed after the decision has been already made so that the analysis below may be considered a retrospective application of the framework to a decision that has been achieved through some other subconscious and conscious decision-making techniques, some of which coincide with the framework. Thus, current paper provides a summary of the decision-making process of the client based on the PrOACT/URL framework suggested by Hammond, Keeney and Raiffa.
The PrOACT/URL framework is an eight-step model that consists of such parts as Problem, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, Trade-offs, Uncertainties, Risk Tolerance, and Linkages. The problem of my client was to make a decision about family holidays. The matter is that the holidays coincided with the client’s anniversary and he wanted to make up something special for his wife. Besides, the problem was to decide whether the entire family would go on a vacation or whether it would be more appropriate if only the client and his wife go together. Another problem was associated with the price and the amount of money that the client could spend on the holiday without putting the family’s future well-being at risk. The client had started saving money for this special occasion long before the anniversary so that he would have a variety of options to choose from when the time came. Therefore, he could afford making a special gift for his wife. He decided that this time only he and his wife would go on a trip while the entire family would spend the summer vacations together. The only thing left was to decide on the destination.
The second element of effective decision making relates to objectives. The key objective for the client was to spend some wonderful and unforgettable time with his wife on their anniversary. The other objective was to make a special present for the wife. Finally, the client wanted to relax and rest for a bit as he and his wife had worked hard for many years with virtually allocating no quality free time for themselves. The third step of making an effective decision is associated with considering alternatives. There were several options that the client had to consider prior to making the final decision. First, he could book a trip to the nearest local resort for the weekend, which would not be very expensive. Second, they could go somewhere within the country, for instance, to Florida or to some lake, which would also be considered an economical budget compared to traveling abroad. Third, the client could fulfill his wife’s dream and take her on a tour across European cities. Finally, he could travel to some seaside destination abroad and combine beach holidays with sightseeing. The client decided in favor of the latter option and booked a trip to Thailand, which was affordable with account for all available options, but still exciting and memorable. The most expensive part of spending holidays in Thailand during this time of the year concerns flight prices, but the client decided that they were affordable if to take into account that accommodations, food, and sightseeing tours were much cheaper in Thailand than in many other resort destinations.
The fourth element of the decision-making process under the suggested framework is consideration of consequences. The client admitted that he had not spent much time dwelling upon this issue. He simply considered affordability and decided that saved money would cover all expenses without endangering future life of the family. Moreover, the most significant consequence in this case was to celebrate the anniversary in an unforgettable way, which would only strengthen and benefit family relations on the whole. Once rested, the client and his spouse would also be more productive in terms of their work and care for the family. The next element to be considered in the decision-making process relates to trade-offs. The client decided that he could do without a new laptop and that his spouse would agree to postpone for some time their clothes shopping plans as they had everything necessary for the time being. Besides these things, the client did not think about any other trade-offs as he had a separate special budget allocated for this event. The above discussed five steps constitute the PrOACT part of the framework suggested by Hammond et al. Below are discussed the three steps that comprise the URL part of the framework.
The first step of the URL part is entitled Uncertainties. In the case under consideration, the client experienced some uncertainties as to the budget of the holiday as he was slightly worried that some unexpected expenses might arise in the future. However, he decided not to worry without a cause and to deal with problems as they might come up. Another uncertainty was associated with his spouse’s reaction to the present. He was not sure that she would find this idea exciting, but he knew his wife rather well and hoped that she would like holidays in Thailand. Moreover, the client experienced some uncertainties relating to the destination as this was the first relatively exotic country that they were going to travel to. Flight would also take some time. The client researched a bit about local cuisine, possible allergies, and other things that could turn the holiday into a horror. However, after reading various blogs and travel forums, as well as talking to some friends who had already been to Thailand, the client’s worry was alleviated and the latter uncertainties concerning the destination diminished significantly. Risk tolerance as a step of the framework was the least time-consuming part of the decision-making process for the client. He travels a lot and is aware of risks associated with flying and staying in unknown locations. The other risk that the client had to consider was the impact of holiday expenses on the family budget in the future. Nevertheless, the client deemed the expenses affordable and manageable as the family had no big planned purchases in the nearest future and he had saved enough money to make this present for his wife and himself. The last part of the suggested framework for effective decision making is entitled Linkages and deals with possible linked decisions. The decision under consideration would have a direct impact on the summer vacation options of the family. The client decided that the family could either go camping in summer for a week or use the lake house of their relatives, which would be relatively inexpensive and would balance out expenses of the trip to Thailand in the long term. Another linked decision is postponement of purchasing a new laptop for the client, yet this decision would have no serious detrimental impact on the client’s work as though the currently used laptop may be not in the best condition, it is still functioning. The client supposes that the most crucial thing to consider in this case is not the material value of things, but rather positive effect of the trip on his marriage and family.
At a glance, a decision relating family holidays seems to be quite easy and quick to make. However, the above analysis within the PrOACT/URL framework proves that even such trivial decisions may require some time and effort, as well as being complex in nature due to associated uncertainties, alternatives, risks, and other factors. The client has managed to point out his reasoning under all eight steps to a varying extent of accuracy and consumed time. The client supposes that the decision he had made is effective. Although it may be not the most rational decision regarding the expenses, time, and risks involved, it is effective in terms of its potential positive impact on his marriage and emotional appeal that it holds. In the client’s opinion, his wife would appreciate the present and efforts he has dedicated to devising a plan of a perfect holiday just for two of them. Withal, the client has provided a positive feedback about the suggested decision-making framework and is committed to trying it once he has to make another big decision in the future.
About the author: Jane Summers is a professional writer at the https://prime-essay.net writing service. She researches a diversity of topics and composes it into her blog, where she shares useful tips, writing guidelines and many other interactive issues.