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Difference Between Problem Solving and Decision Making

Problem Solving vs Decision Making

Life is filled with complexities, and one of them is to know the difference between problem solving and decision making. People tend to use ‘problem solving’ and ‘decision making’ interchangeably. Although they are somewhat related, these two phrases are not synonymous and are completely different. The major difference between the two is; problem solving is a method while decision making is a process.

Problem solving, as the name implies, is solving a problem. Meaning, it is a method wherein a group or an individual makes something positive out of a problem. Decision making, on the other hand, is a process that is done many times during problem solving. Decision making is the key that will help in reaching the right conclusion in problem solving. Problem solving is more an analytical aspect of thinking. It also uses intuition in gathering facts. Decision making, on the other hand, is more of a judgment where, after thinking, one will take a course of action. However, these two need a certain set of skills for each to be more effective.

To understand the differences between the two a little better, it is best to define each of them. With the definition of each term, it will be easier for you to distinguish one from the other.

Problem solving is more of a mental process. It is included in the larger problem process, namely, problem finding and problem shaping. Problem solving is the most complex process among all the intellectual functions of a human being. It is very complex. It is considered a higher order of the cognitive process. It is very complex in that it needs regulation and modulation of the basic skills of a human being. When an organism or artificial intelligence system is undergoing a problem and needs to be transferred into a better state to achieve a certain goal, then this needs problem solving.

Decision making is concerned on what action should be made. It is still a process of cognitive function, but it focuses on what action to take and what alternatives are available. Decision processes will always end up with a final choice; this choice may be an action or an opinion about a certain issue. When looking at decision making in a psychological aspect, the decision of an individual is based on his or her needs and the values that a person is looking for. When looking at decision making in a cognitive aspect, it is a continuous process related to the interaction of the person and his or her environment. In the normative aspect of decision making, on the other hand, it is focused more on the logical and rational way of making decisions until a choice is made.



Problem solving is a method; decision making is a process.

Decision making is needed during problem solving to reach the conclusion.

Decision making will lead to a course of action or final opinion; problem solving is more analytical and complex

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  1. You say “Problem solving is a method; decision making is a process.”

    Yet in the 4th paragraph discussing problem solving you use the word “process” repeatedly without explaining with examples how it is a method.


  2. So shd I say that choice making is the same as decision making?

  3. Good but not illustrated

  4. Pls Explain in table

  5. Decision making typically involves the selection between of some collection of options from within a larger set which includes those options as well as a number of additional options. The larger the total set of options within which the subset is being selected, the more criteria are needed to give you a basis for the decision.

    People tend to think of a decision as being “difficult” when in respect of the options being selected from, none of them look like they have obviously better outcomes … or sometimes even “none of the choices are good ones”.

    Problem solving whereas has a wider remit. Effective problem solving typically involves the process of iterative re-specification of what the problem actually is, in a cycle with low-cost experiments to determine whether that way of defining the problem tends to give rise to more of what we want or less or what we want.

  6. Thank you so much

    Featured addition

  7. Provide further explanations regarding the two aspects of problem solving and decision making. Thank you.

  8. If one is a method and the other is a process, what is the difference between a method and process?

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