Decision Making in Groups

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What is Decision Making?

Decision making is a regular part of the job of employees in different organizations all around the world. The decisions regarding the company's managerial, financial and working state impact how it will function and the state it is going to be. There are generally two broad categorizations in techniques for decision making- individual and group decision making. However, the decision-making process is so crucial for the existence and the future of a company that mostly it is not taken by any individual of the company. In an organization, decision making in groups is a far more common approach than decision making by an individual. 

The organization must form a decision-making team and define the scope of power and authority that it holds. This allows the members to make better decisions for the company while getting supervised on important decisions. Policies made regarding such decision-making teams safeguard their positions. Also, in case of a failure, the burden of wrong decision does not lie with a single person and as the teams have been established under them, higher authorities also share the blame in the decision. Therefore the risk associated with such decisions is lower when compared to the other scenario.

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Advantages of Group Decision Making

  1. The decision-making committee comprises people in different positions of power. Each of these members brings with them their ideas and opinions about the problem at hand. Therefore group decision-making allows the team to discuss the different viewpoints and objectively look at the options.

  2. People from different parts of the organization are mixed in these groups while making the decision. Therefore it becomes easier to implement the decision throughout the organization. Each department manager knows exactly what has been decided in the meeting and how much of it they have to contribute. This crucial piece of information allows them to give clear instructions to their subordinates in the department.

  3. A sense of unity prevails among the members when a decision is taken collectively. People take pride in it and often work hard to see that their decision leads to success for the company.


Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

  1. In general, this method of decision-making requires more time than a single person making a decision. This is because here, every step needs to be consulted among the different members before proceeding.

  2. The process of forming a committee and reaching a good decision can be drawn-out. Therefore, the opportunity to solve the problem or take a serious decision may be lost.

  3. In the group, it is sometimes hard to reach a common decision for a problem. This may lead to indecisions and members may not be keen to share their ideas to avoid the blame in case of failures.


Decision making in groups can be done in several ways. Given below are a few of the group decision-making techniques widely used in the industry:

Brainstorming

The team is required to sit together for this technique to work. A person is assigned to write different ideas generated. This method aims to focus on the problem and think of the different ways it can be solved. Therefore here, the feasibility of the option is neglected in the initial stages of discussion. Creativity and innovation among the members are used to find new approaches to the problem.

The list containing all these gathered probable solutions is then circulated among the members. The committee improvises and improves on the different alternatives to ultimately come up with a solution.

The process is very effective for most of the group decision-making committees. The method is best suited for straightforward decisions. A complex problem is broken down into several different steps when dealt with a brainstorming approach.

Nominal Group Thinking

This approach is similar to brainstorming though the difference here is that it is better structured and has less open communication of ideas when discussing the problem. Every member of the team individually comes up with a solution to the problem at hand. The moderator then presents these potential solutions one by one to all the other members. Limiting the communications, this method tries to keep the ideas away from biases and public opinions when conceptualized. 

When the options are presented in front of the team, a similar discussion to brainstorming takes place. Members here systematically weigh the risks and the benefits of the particular option and take the decision accordingly.

Even though it takes a bit longer and can get a little more cumbersome, group decision-making reduces the chances of error by an organization. It helps it achieve an overall successful operation.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is Groupthink?

Ans: Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which the desire to seek cohesiveness among the group leads to the group's wrong decisions. When the members strive to respond unanimously, their motivation to think about the different opinions reduces critically.

Group decision making essentially fails if people do not want to contribute new ideas and newer responses. The feeling of loyalties and other personal biases must be avoided in a group decision making session. In the case of deciding an ideal group for making decisions, influential personalities should be avoided. Members should have the freedom to put forward different responses and then critically analyze each of them.

Q2. What is the ideal size for groups in Group Decision Making?

Ans: A group should be able to properly analyze the different market scenarios and limit social interactions and work effectively is the ideal group for such activities. It can be achieved with the help of a few basic strategies. 

First, the number of group members should be odd. This helps break ties when decisions are taken and increase the chance of a better decision.

Factors like gender ratio should be kept in and also the average intelligence of the group should be kept high. This helps to keep the discussion relevant and on the topic. All these factors show that the optimal number for any decision-making group size is five.