Group Decision Making- Collectively Solving Problems

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 799 , Published on 05 August 2015

Group Decision-Making is the decision taken by a group of people, not by individual. It is also known as "Collaborative Decision-Making", since it is done in collaboration with a large number or a group of people. Recently, Group Decision-Making is trending in the global market. It has been seen that many a times in some situations individuals are unable to come up with the solution to a problem but, when this task is assigned to a group they can easily come up with the solution. Also, decisions taken by a group are more effective as compared to that made by an individual.

History of Group Decision-Making:

From the past, we have seen that Group decision-making has been very important. During the rule of kings in our country although, final decision was taken by the king but, he had a group of members with whom he used to consult about what kind of decision should he take and after their consent he used to take the final decision.

Examples in Today's World:

Today in many corporate houses along with the Chairperson there are a group of committee members who are solely responsible for taking decision in any situation. These decisions in group are taken by a team, club, committee or a group.


Why is Group Decision-Making important in organizations?

Some individuals may be very good in decision-making but, certainly when they form a group, they increase the output of the group i.e. decision made by all of them becomes more concrete. This is because when an individual alone makes decision, he makes decision only by his perspective and only based on his own past experiences. But, when a group of people makes decision on the same issue they all have their own perspectives and decisions on that issue which when combined, result into a more better and focussed solution to that problem.

So, organizations now-a-days prefer to have group decision-making instead of individual decision-making so that a wide variety of ideas and thoughts can be used to take a decision.

How to develop Ethical Decision-Making in Groups?

To develop ethical decision-making, the employees of an organization should be provided sessions to maintain their ethics. They can also be provided with pressure building sessions in which they will be tested that how they would stand for their ethics. They should be asked to explain the kinds of values and ethics they have. We should explain them the importance of ethical behaviour in organizations. Lastly, they should also be taught the best decision making strategies so that they can come up with the best solutions.


By-products of Group Decision Making:

There can be two by-products of the group decision making process which can influence the ability of the group to think and arrive at the conclusion. They are Groupthink and Group shift.

The first one is Groupthink, which describes the resistance of a person to speak against the group because of the fear of opposition of the group. There is a normal tendency among people that if a person speaks against them, they will certainly resist and oppose him. But, this can be minimized by reducing the group size, so that people may not hesitate to speak in a group.

The second one is Group shift, which is also known as Group polarization. It can be seen as a special case of groupthink. In this it happens that conservative people might become more cautious in expressing their views.


What are different Techniques of Group Decision-making?

The basic form of group decision-making is interacting face to face with the peers. All the group members sit together and have a discussion and derive a conclusion after the discussion about the problem. In due course of time, a few more techniques have evolved which are:

1. Brainstorming- This technique focuses on generation of more and more ideas. It focuses less on how effective those ideas are. In this, a group leader states the problem to the group and ask them to quickly think about it and generate ideas.

2. Nominal Group Technique- This technique is similar to brainstorming technique, but it is more systematic and all individuals from the group can one by one explain their ideas. This technique removed the issues faced with the brainstorming technique. Its main advantage is that it does not restrict individual thinking.

3. Electronic Meetings- In this technique, the group members interact with each other using computers because of which there comments remain anonymous and privacy of thoughts is maintained. Using this technique people can freely express their thoughts without facing any opposition.


What benefits Group Decision-Making provides?

Group decision-making provides diversity of ideas as people from different physical as well as cultural backgrounds share their ideas and thoughts and come to the conclusion about any problem. In various researches it has been found that group decision-making leads to the increase in team spirit among the people.

Also, since the decision is taken by a group of people, it leads to sharing of responsibility among the group unlike when an individual makes a decision he is solely responsible for the decision. These are also more accurate than individual decision making, as each person in the group analyses the situation at personal level and then, comes up with the conclusion.

When making decisions in group becomes difficult?

Despite its advantages, at certain times, it becomes difficult to make group decisions. Since, each person in the group shares the responsibility, some people try to impose all responsibility on others. Many a times, it might happen that a person may not be satisfied with others' reasons. So, it becomes time consuming. In such cases, it takes more time than individual decision making.


Although, "Group decision-making" leads to effective problem solving by involving the ideas and thoughts of a diversity of people in a group but, at the same time it may happen that the process might become chaotic and time consuming. Also, group decision-making is more accurate than individual decision-making but, this should be done in a supervised manner i.e. under the supervision of a group leader.


This article has been authored by Vinshi Choudhary from IIM Kashipur



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