Some words about group decision making

Group decision making is a process, in which many people are analysing a problem together and are looking for solutions, trying to choose the best one. According to many available articles and books it’s the best way of solving problems and appointing directions of company development, because the group is always wiser than the individual.

the group makes decisionsWhat are the required conditions, so as the group could make good decisions?

  1. Diversity of opinions
  2. Independence
  3. Decentralization

If there will be a fear of expressing opinions in the group or the group structure will be homogeneous we can’t expect a good effect. A huge threat is also a bad attitude of managers and fear of delegating decision making to others.

The key issue is here providing an opportunity to expressing opinions in the company. The best form of it are groups meetings during which particular problems are discussed. One person presents the problem and moderates the discussion. It’s also useful when one person takes notes from such a meeting. To encourage workers to take part in such meetings, some issues are important: 

  • feedback, that is showing how we used discussion conclusions and what the consequences of our decision are
  • regularity
  • creating a culture of openess in the company

There are some team cooperation models, which are helpful while making a decision. The most popular are:

  • Brainstorming– the most popular technique, its efficiency is based on freedom of generating ideas (even those theoretically silly ones) and not judging them by the group while they’re generated.
  • Nominal group technique (NGT) – the technique similar to brainstorming, but in the first iteration the ideas are generated individually by members, and then discussed in the group.
  • Delphi method– it’s a modification of NGT, where the ideas evaluation is made anonymously by external experts.
  • Didactic interaction – especially interesting for solving categorical problems, for example yes/no.

group making decision

The description of these techniques is just brief. If you are interested in this topic, please leave a comment below the article.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s the best to implement changes, which were accepted by the group, because workers identify with them and the resistance to them is smaller.

And now some words about disadvantages of group decision making

  1. Blurring of responsibility
  2. Low effectiveness – long time of decision making
  3. Polarization– one of the examples is a bigger inclination to making risky decisions in the group
  4. Lack of data/ knowledge considering a particular subject in the team

The problems mentioned above cause that the group decision making technique should be used selectively depending on the analysed problem. However it’s worth remembering that engaging workers in making decisions in the company increases their job satisfaction and makes that they identify themselves with the workplace more.