MAKING THE GROUP DECISION
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Decision-Making
Nick Birch 2010
Group decision-making is a process where an assembly of people convene to analyse problems or situations, evaluate alternative actions and reach solutions. Decisions may concern the judgement of a particular course of action, how best to solve a problem or the determination of the direction or magnitude of work ahead performed by teams or individuals. Deciding the best course of action can range in perplexity, depending on the effectiveness of how that group functions, the quality of alternatives that are generated, the amount of access to correct and adequate information and their understanding of the problem.
Where time is of the essence and also befits the personification of money, it is customary for a business or organisation to engage in Group Decision-Making processes in the attempt to effectively and efficiently solve problems. Though some methods are more time-consuming some others. The group leader usually reserves judgement on which method is used in the Group Decision-Making process, because if one assembled a group to make a decision on what method should be used, what method would one use to decide? And so on one would ramble in an infinite loop. And if the group ever assembled without a leader, who’s idea was it for the group to assemble in the first instance? So the first advantage or disadvantage of a group decision would be how effective its leader is in managing the process, which can either be a solution in itself or it can be a problem. Though the greatest problem of all seems to be time.
WHAT THE PROBLEM IS
Is the problem that which the Group has been assembled to address or is it how they are going to address it? Amabile (1998) invites us to ‘imagine a business problem as a maze’.
Depending on their motivation, one person may tread the tried and tested path that has worked before for efficiency’s sake, whereas another may be more creative and find a different path which could prove more interesting (Amabile, 1998). This new path could very well take longer and involve more mistakes, however the purpose of assembling a group to solve a problem or make a decision in the first instance seems likely that more than one idea from more than one person is sought.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Decision-making processes can sometimes begin themselves under the guise of assumptions. Whether or not certain assumptions are correct has little bearing on the advantages and disadvantages of group decision-making, rather on the aptitude of the leader responsible for influencing the process with them. If the method of decision-making that the group shall be employing is not an agreed upon process to begin with, then the group may already be at a disadvantage.
The purpose of a group collaborating in the effort to reach a decision is to generate higher quality and a wider variety of decision alternatives. This is because ‘if a greater number of higher quality alternatives are generated, then it is likely that the group will eventually reach a superior problem solution than the individual’ (Bartnett, 2010). Because the effectiveness of decision-making groups can depend on many factors, it is difficult to suggest whether a particular group will remain effective from one problem to the next or whether one decision-making method is better than other. The advantages and disadvantages of each particular group and its methods need to be weighed as a whole new decision before the group is even formed. In order to extricate some advantages and disadvantages of group decision-making, we must first explore some of the decision-making methods that groups may utilise.
But the group that is formed to address a particular problem that needs to be solved does not necessarily reform with the same team-members from problem to problem.
WHAT IS A GROUP?
It is important to first differentiate groups from teams. Albeit somewhat similar in notion, groups may discuss, decide and delegate when it is time for work start, but the team discusses, decides and does real work (Barnett, 2010). ‘Although the words teams and groups are often used interchangeably, scholars increasingly differentiate between the two. The basis for the distinction seems to be that teams act more collectively and achieve greater synergy of effort’ (Barnett, 2010). This implies the acumen that teams work together in the process of achieving a goal whereas groups work together to explore and delineate the methods in which goals are to be pursued. It is not in a particular group’s interest to perpetuate its initial function, though depending on the consequences of said function it may reform or augment itself repeatedly as is holistically viable.