Limited Decision Making: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Definition of Limited…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Fenner

Susan has an MBA in Management from the University of North Alabama. She teaches online and campus-based Business courses.

The decision making process is divided into three basic categories: extensive, limited, and routine. This lesson takes a closer look at the category of consumer purchases that require limited decision making.

Definition of Limited Decision Making

Lonnie made his way up to the counter at his favorite burger stand. He glanced at the dollar menu and said, 'I'll have the usual. Junior burger, hold the pickles, small fries, and a Diet Coke, please.' He paid for his order and headed back to the corner booth. This action is called routine decision making, because it doesn't require the customer to make brand or model comparisons before making a purchase.

Lonnie set down his tray, settled into his seat, and pulled several glossy brochures out of his jacket pocket. His eyes lit up as he spread them out on the table. After several weeks of dealing with a failing laptop computer, he had finally saved enough money for a new one. Now the question was, which one? Looking over the brochures, each model looked shinier and sleeker than the next. But Lonnie knows enough about computers to know that looks aren't everything. He is going to have to spend some time reviewing the features of the different models, and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each. He'll use a combination of his prior knowledge and the new information he gathers to make a choice.

Lonnie's purchase of a new laptop computer is an example of a purchase that requires limited decision making. Limited decision making is a consumer decision making that is used when we are purchasing products that we are familiar with, but still need to gather more information about which brand or model will best fit our needs.

Lonnie will compare products and give more thought to the purchase of a computer than he did to the routine purchase of a burger and fries, but less thought than he would if he were making a major purchase such as a new home.

Examples of Limited Decision Making

Let's look at a few more examples of limited decision making. Meet Phil. Phil is responsible for maintaining the office equipment at work. The old heavy-duty copier is down for repair at least once a week, and it disrupts the flow of work in the office. Phil has gotten the green light from the boss to replace the copier, but he will need to compare the various models and costs to make the right choice. If he simply goes with the least expensive model, it might not be able to handle the workload from multiple users in a busy office.

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