Group decision making is a valid procedure that most of the times ensures that the answers and decision provided are of high quality as compared to individual decision making. It nevertheless is highly dependent on the technique of group decision making that was applied. The obvious assumptions to support this claims is that many people have the ability to bring more information to the table and explore various alternatives from different perspectives therefore living little room for mistakes. The end product of their critical evaluation of information more often than not results to creative ideas.
In fact the more diverse the group is the better the ideas (Viteles 1953, 7). Mostly group decision making comes in to play when the option available necessitates inputs and opinions from more than one person. Even then it should be noted that as much as the answers from a group may be of high quality there no two groups that will function similarly while in the decision making process. The implication is therefore that one group may be proactive and others might require a facilitator in order to function effectively (Kerr &King 1984, 17).
The process is therefore a complex one and is achievable through various methods: Authoritarian Style The authoritarian style functions like a dictatorship. In this method the power to make the ultimate and final decision rests on one person. This person usually dictates the entire process and has the greatest say in the final outcome. Mostly this method is applied in cases where a powerful person and a key decision maker in the company is present. As much as the final answer may be of high quality many people are usually against this method especially those whose ideas were not incorporated in the final outcome.
The minority control method has often been used to try and counter the negatives of this style (Rollison 2008, 14). Brainstorming Another method that a group can use to reach a quality decision is by the use of brainstorming. The method is mostly useful when the decision making process is starting from scratch. It mostly entails creating a variety of options and then weighing them before choosing the one that best fits. It is a popular method because of the fact that it gives each member of the group complete freedom. In some cases brain storming sessions have facilitator who has the function of ensuring that the group does not deviate.
The facilitator also has the responsibility and the freedom to start the discussion, probe, and even provide some useful hints subtle (Griffin 1993, 56). This method of group decision-making is very effective because it puts value on every participant’s point of view and the final outcome is usually by consensus. Voting based method The voting based technique is often used when a group is presented by a set of defined alternatives and yet they are required to pick one that they think will ensure maximum value. Participants in this case are given the option of choosing the alternative they think is best.
Unlike brainstorming this style puts little value on each individual’s opinions (Gordon 1983, 32). Basically the quality of the answer provided in a group discussion is also highly dependent on the style the group used to make their final decision. The assumption is that the authoritarian style may not provide the same quality of answers as brainstorming and voting. But generally a quality outcome is to be anticipated because the members are able to combine their individual strengths while offsetting their weaknesses. A set of different competence and skills is applied on the problem at hand before a solution is reached (Hogan 2003, 15).
The group process also eliminates the chances of a biased answer as would be the case in individual decision making. Group decision making additionally embraces and evaluates an idea from broader perspective which is a result of the various unique perceptions of individuals in the group. In the case of an individual, the final outcome may easily be an influence of a preconceived idea or notion. It is therefore difficult for the person to be able to single handedly critic his views and therefore change direction because he already has a fixed picture in his mind of how things should be done.
The wrong option therefore may be for example based on religious affiliation, cultural differences, or social status and therefore the outcome may in fact not be rational (Schwarz 2002, 53-52). Individual’s answers most of the time occur by default and no other alternatives are usually brought in to play for evaluation before the conclusion is made. The surrounding circumstances additionally tend to influence the final outcome therefore events will sometimes overpower the person’s ability to make a rational decision.
This probably may not have great implication when for example you want to buy cologne but may mean a lot of deficits if the decision to be made is meant for a commercial entity. Decisions made by a lot of individuals are of quality because they have a higher chance of being implemented than individual decisions especially when it comes for example at the company level. This is simply because as the group discusses the individuals are able to comprehensively grasp the weight of the decision and understand the course of action needed to implement it.
It is also the result of the boosted team spirit brought about by the consideration of each person’s idea and therefore greater commitment to achieve the goals is gained (Kroon 1995, 10-12). Gordon (1983, 37) observes that the results of a group can be homogeneous depending on various factors. In the case of a multi cultural group for instance the answers are bound to be of even better quality considering that the individuals have different diverse backgrounds therefore the strategies for decision making will definitely be different.
Conflicts may arise because of the different perceptions but the group in itself has the power to look for means to deal with those conflicts and thereby presenting an appropriate and quality decision. Additionally members in the group that is making a decision are usually interested in making an appropriate decision and have little consideration for the kind of relationships that exist between the individuals. Furthermore compromise that occurs during the whole process may serve to enhance the coming up of creative solutions.
But the decision making in highly cohesive groups may not necessarily result into a quality decision. This may be first and foremost because of groupthink. Groupthink describes the tendency of people in a group that is highly cohesive to seek consensus so strongly such that their ability and willingness to critically evaluate each others ideas is lost or weakened. Groupthink is mostly a result of the group collective rationalization or overestimating its ability to make decisions in the face of extraordinary risks.
With such a mindset it becomes very hard for the group to spot or identify any loopholes in the answers given during their discussion session. The other cause for groupthink could be the closed mindedness of the group. This is because while they are making an effort to conform they assume that their exists inherent morality. Therefore conviction that all the decisions made will be correct is developed making them less conscious of any questionable ethical outcomes of their answers. Moreover groupthink can simply be the result of the pressure to ensure uniformity is achieved.
This pressure could be direct on dissenters to force them to conform maybe with a consequence of a reward or punishment. Mind guards also force members to uniformity because they discourage members from taking different perspectives and basically filter what is right and what is wrong for the discussion (Straub 1999, 73). Additionally the urge to maintain their status aspirations and social status may make a highly cohesive group to make very irrational and therefore not quality decisions. The two are very important ingredients for any group and may influence the level of their integration into the society.
And as a matter of fact the members that feel that they are of a lesser status may perceive the views of those members with a higher status in society as ‘rational’ even though they might harbor doubts concerning the outcomes. Additionally still some of the ‘classy ‘members may discredit the views of others or better still a member with inferiority complex may shy away from giving his opinion that would have greatly assisted in making the appropriate and effective decision. In conclusion a group decision-making process may only guarantee limited rationality and quality in outcomes.
From the discussion above it might be quiet unrealistic to expect total quality of answers. This is because among the other issues there are a lot of emotions involved before a consensus is made and therefore some people views might have to be compromised yet their could be a probability that the forgone perception could have led to a better answer. Word Count: 1487 References list Gordon, J. , 1983, A diagnostic approach to organizational behaviour. Allyn and Bacon, United States. Griffin, R. , 1993, Management. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Hogan, C. , 2003, Practical Facilitation: A Toolkit of Techniques.
Kogan Page Publishers, United Kingdom. Johnson, D. & Pierce, F. , 1991, Joining together: group theory and group skills. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Kerr, K. & King, H. , 1984, Procedures for meetings and organizations. Taylor & Francis, United Kingdom. Kroon, J. , 1995, General management. Pearson, South Africa. Rollinson, D. 2008, Organisational behaviour and analysis: an integrated approach. Financial Times Prentice Hall, New Jersey. Schwarz, R. , 2002, The skilled facilitator: a comprehensive resource for consultants, facilitators, managers, trainers, and coaches. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
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