Knowledge-based decision making

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Figure 1: Knowledge-based decision making model[1]

Knowledge-based decision making (KBDM) in management is a decision-making process[2] which process involves an agreed criterion, which is used to measure and ensure that the most suitable outcome can be generated for a specific topic. This process is used as a guideline to make the most effective and strategic decision [3] as it establishes a thought process, reasoning behind a decision but also collects vital background essentials[4] to together to increase understanding about a topic or agreed criteria.

Key elements[edit]

  • Open communication between leadership and membership[5] consists of being able to demonstrate face-to-face dialogue, exchanging information, experiences and facts to one another; each party takes turns to listen and respects what others have to say. The initiation of regular dialogue and communication between individuals in respects to a specified topic.
  • Dialogue before deliberation [5]– "I must consider all the facts and examine the possible consequences".[6] Dialogue before deliberations suggests to communicating prior to demonstrating actions. The relevance to KBDC is, background information about the selected topic has to be gathered preliminary to a meeting or discussion information founded beforehand is made available to all the decision makers before a meeting is arranged. The storage location of materials and sources are mutual, meaning all decision maker's involved have equal access to files. During the duration of the discussion period, background information and facts are evaluated and discussed among the decision maker's.[7] In reasoning, members can use this time as an opportunity to ask questions and queries about the specified topic, during this time responses can be made accordingly and appropriately. The overall purpose of the meetings are to discuss the background information as well as ensuring each decision makers question have been answered via face to face contact.[2]
  • All decision makers have common access to information – All information involved in the KBDM process must be distributed equally to all decision makers and the sources should be in a mutual location to ensure the same grounds for each decision- maker.[8] It is important that of the information provided to the decision makers are of the same version and has the same content.
  • We exist in a culture of trust – Organizational culture is coming from individual beliefs, procedures, norms, values and meanings, this is shared to other members in organization. Organizational culture has an impact on individual's behavior in various situations.[9] 'Culture'[10] is based on the characteristics and behavior among a particular group of individuals. Corresponding to this, knowledge-based decision making tries to focus on functioning within an environment and surroundings with a variety of components, including respecting one another's decisions and listening to each other. These factors link to culture as they can contribute to how an individual feels within the environment, whether this is positive or negative reducing the amount of fear and pressure put on individuals if they make a mistake. If individuals feel as though they need advice, the culture can assist individuals, as it would be normal to help each other, be reassuring as well as encouraging. In contrast, not having a culture of trust can increase the level of risk when making decisions, as individuals may take advantage of situations and be non-supportive or unwilling to give advice.[4]


Open communication

  • Contributes to increased relevant overall knowledge and understanding about the topic, doing this can limit both confusion and misunderstandings.[4]

Dialogue Before deliberation

  • Provides opportunity for decision maker's to prepare by viewing background information founded, this can generate a better understanding of the topic involved.
  • Decision makers prepared for discussion as they have the chance to generate questions and identification of specific aspects of the findings and information they want to discuss or develop on.
  • Decision maker's gaining a clearer and rounded understanding of the topic beforehand from background information provided.
  • Gives clear direction of conversation[8]

All decision makers have common access to information

  • Having information published in one location it can contribute to ease of access, but also ensures availability, so if any of the decision makers wanted to view information before a meeting they would be able to do this efficiently and effectively.[2]
  • Publishing information beforehand allows members to have a sufficient time period to become informed about present content provided, generate further questions and express opinions[4] about the matter in order to reach the most suitable outcome.

We exist in a culture of trust

  • Helping, advising and supporting one another.
  • Working towards the same goals, group effort.[11]
  • Authority isn't a large factor, the content of the information to make an informed decision is most import.
  • Group members are more likely to support decision made due to the contribution.[5]


Open communication

  • There is always a chance that some decision makers will not communicate effectively, so confusion can always occur.
  • Miscommunication between individuals due to different perceptions.

Dialogue Before deliberation

  • Some individuals may not have read the background information thus not understand the direction of conversation.
  • Background information provided may be hard to understand thus impact preparation time.
  • Unexpected issues will constantly arise.

All decision makers have common access to information

  • Technology could be a barrier, information stored on a computer based system maybe lost.
  • Background information can soon be out-dated.[5]

We exist in a culture of trust

  • New decision makers may not fully understand the culture of the environment.


The process is composed of six main components:

Figure 2 - Knowledge-based decision making (KBDM)
  1. A topic is specified
  2. Relevant background information[12] and key facts are identified and gathered in relation to the specified topic. This information is then located in a mutual location, which can be sourced by all decision makers. At this stage decision makers may add to any outstanding information.
  3. The background information present is analysed using a set criteria or a set of questions by the decision makers, during this stage questions can queries[13] are created.
  4. A discussion occurs between all decision makers, questions and queries are discussed during this stage. Concerns and opinions are also stated during this stage.
  5. From the discussions and information gather a summary is made. The purpose of the summary is to clearly outline key factors that are most relevant to the specified topic.
  6. The results and findings from the analysis are discussed among decision makers as a group in order to ensure that the best possible outcome can be made strategically.[13]


  • The KBDM process allows the main focus and emphasis to be on the actual decision and reasoning, not the people who make the decision, so authority is not a major factor.[4]
  • KBDM is considered a process. Within processes there are structures in place, structures can allow methodical approaches to occur and therefore indicates a starting point when making vital decisions. From this KBDM to be used as an indicator and standard guideline in which can be applied to decision- making situations.[11]
  • During the beginning of the process relevant information is gathered so that overall decision can be based on background information and factual knowledge.[5] By researching background information it can assist the focus levels in the topic particular area. The structure present enables the thought process of a decision to be specified and states the reasons behind a decision,[4] so if an issue does occur with the overall outcome the thought process can be evaluated thoroughly.
  • In association with business, the KBDM process can give companies or organisations a competitive advantage, create common grounds and gain understanding of others within the same sector due to the structured format. The structure supports and is suited to assist long- term planning and strategic decision-making.[8] At the beginning of the process key background information is assembled to increase the amount of knowledge and understanding each individual decision maker has about the topic, vital aspects of information will also be included. The research and information founded is put into a mutual location to provide equal grounds in terms of knowledge before a discussion occurs, this give time for questions to be established. From the KBDM process a decision can be made based on facts, understanding and suitable reasoning from discussions to conclude the most appropriate decision.[14]


During the third stage of the process background information is measured against a set of questions. These questions are answered and then used to contribute to the overall decision made.

Questions that are used to measure information include:

  1. What do we currently know about the needs, wants and preferences of our members that relates to this discussion?
  2. What do we know about both our resources and strategic position that is relevant to this issue?
  3. What do we know about the current environment and culture that relates to this issue?
  4. What are the (ethical) implications of our choice (pros and cons)?[15]
  5. What do we not know about this issue that we wish we knew?[14]
  6. How do Al-Anon's legacies apply to this issue?
  7. What is your part in the process?[2]

Decision making in project management[edit]

Effective project management is best achieved using an adaptive approach focused on effective decision-making.[16] Therefore, a variety of tools based on software and structure has been developed to support decision making in groups. Decision Making processes are strongly correlating to the level of available knowledge regarding the environment, the decision is based on.[17] A successful usage of Knowledge Management supporting tools is an important aspect in improving the overall project performance and therefore is an essential method for organisations with project related work styles, which is – in different shapes – appealing to almost every modern business environment.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anon, Anon (n.d.). "The Steps of Knowledge Based Decision Making" (PDF). The Steps of Knowledge Based Decision Making. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d, Al-Anon (January 2012). "Knowledge Based Decision Making Overview". Al-Anon District 12 Panel 52.
  3. ^ Yim, Nam-Hong (2004). "Knowledge based decision making - Strategic concerns: system dynamics approach" (PDF). Knowledge Based Decision Making on Higher Level Strategic Concerns: System Dynamics Approach. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Anon, Anon (n.d.). "The Knowledge Based Decision Making Process To Reach an Informed Group Conscience" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Anon, Anon (n.d.). "Knowledge Based Decision Making KBDM" (PDF). KBDM. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  6. ^ Family Group Head Inc, Al-Anon (1997). Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions and Concepts. pp. 149–151.
  7. ^ NEA, National Education Association (2015). "NEA Knowledge Based Decision Making" (PDF). 2015 NEA Leadership Summit. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Anon, Al (n.d.). "Knowledge Based Decision Making - Key Elements" (PDF). KBDM Model. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  9. ^ Abubakar, Abubakar Mohammed; Elrehail, Hamzah; Alatailat, Maher Ahmad; Elçi, Alev (2017-10-21). "Knowledge management, decision-making style and organizational performance". Journal of Innovation & Knowledge. 4 (2): 104–114. doi:10.1016/j.jik.2017.07.003. ISSN 2444-569X.
  10. ^ "What is Culture? | Definition of Culture". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  11. ^ a b Anon, Anon (n.d.). "Knowledge based decision making, benefits" (PDF). KBDM Benefits. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  12. ^ Inc, Tech-Clarity (2012). "Knowledge- Enabled Decision Making" (PDF). Tech Clarity Insight. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  13. ^ a b Anon, Anon (n.d.). "The Steps of Knowledge Based Decision Making" (PDF). Making an Informed Decision. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  14. ^ a b Al- Anon, SCWS (n.d.). "KBDM" (PDF). KBDM. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  15. ^ Anon, Anon (n.d.). "Knowledge based decision making - questions" (PDF). Pa-al-anon.
  16. ^ O’Sullivan, David (2015-06-24). "Decision making in project management". Production Planning & Control. 26 (16): 1386–1387. doi:10.1080/09537287.2015.1055092. ISSN 0953-7287.
  17. ^ Holsapple, C. W. (1995), Knowledge Management in Decision Making and Decision Support, Technical report
  18. ^ Hobday, M. (2000), The project-based organisation: an ideal form for managing complex products and systems?, Technical report

External links[edit]